Lakewood Athletic 1 Wilton United 4
WILTON United came from behind to earn a huge three points in their bid to challenge for the Cork Women’s Senior Premier Division title as they defeated Lakewood Athletic 4-1 in Ovens.
A sensational finish from Eimear Knightly had given Lakewood the lead in the first half but goals from Ava Ronan, Emma O’Connor, and a superb brace from Caitlin O’Sullivan in the second period secured an important victory for Wilton.
There was just one point separating the two sides before kick-off to this their seventh fixture of the season with Lakewood sitting in second spot in the league table and Wilton in third.
Both squads knew that a victory here was required if they were to mount a challenge to Douglas Hall at the top and they each had a shot at goal from distance in the opening minutes but Athletic’s Eimear Knightly and United’s Caitlin O’Sullivan failed to truly test the respective keepers.
Sadbh McGoldrick was the next to go close for the home side but after charging past her marker, the winger sent her powerful strike drifting just over the crossbar from a good position.
The visitors’ created their best chance of the first 45 midway through the half but after racing onto a precise defence-splitting pass from the excellent Barbara O’Connell, O’Sullivan fired wide of the near post.
The Wilton number nine was punished for not taking that opportunity as her opposite number Eimear Knightly gave Lakewood the lead when her long-range hit floated over the shot-stopper and into the roof of the net.
And they were desperately unlucky not to double their advantage shortly before the interval but after collecting a clever, quick short corner from Chloe O’Donovan, Knightly saw her fierce hit from an extremely tight angle crash against the crossbar.
Wilton regrouped during that much-needed breather although they did need Carys Johnson to recover and produce a goal-saving challenge to prevent McGoldrick from scoring.
That moment proved to be decisive - although McGoldrick would also miss another couple of good openings - as the visitors levelled the scores just under 20 minutes remaining when O’Sullivan blasted an unstoppable strike into the roof of the net.
From there, Pat Bowdren’s troops never looked back and they completed the comeback with just over ten minutes remaining when Ava Ronan latched on to a superb through ball in behind the defence before coolly taking it past the onrushing keeper and emphatically blazing it home with the help of the underside of the bar.
And they sealed the victory in the closing stages with a lovely team goal that started with keeper Allie Ashley playing a perfectly weighted pass between two attackers looking to press her.
The move ended with O’Sullivan expertly rolling her second of the evening into the bottom right corner before Emma O’Connor completed the scoring with a stunning strike that found the top right corner from the edge of the box in injury time.
LAKEWOOD ATHLETIC: Laura O’Donovan, Grace Oldham, Ali Roach, Ali Brady, Aisling Harrington, Niamh O’Leary, Lily O’Farrell, Chloe O’Donovan, Eimear Knightly, Hollie Kierans, Sadbh McGoldrick, Ciara Lee, Michelle McEnally, Hannah Corcoran, Abby Murphy, Laura Hill.
WILTON UNITED: Allie Ashley, Grace O’Driscoll, Stephanie O’Sullivan, Deirdre Callanan, Zoe Murphy, Emma O’Connor, Carys Johnson, Barbara O’Connell, Caitlin O’Sullivan, Ava Ronan, Lydia Looney, Niamh O’Regan, Kathleen O’Brien, Robyn Murphy.
Referee: John Corcoran.