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15 Local Cup - Strand Utd 3-2 Midleton A

We had to play this game with 10 players as 4 boys decided to play a GAA match instead. However, the boys that did play were exceptional to the point were the Strand manager didn't realise we only had 10 players and it took a bad penalty decision by the ref to decide the game.

We had to play 3 at the back as our two normal centre halves were missing and when Strand got a corner on 10 mins their very tall no 9 rose well to score a good header. With Conor Clarke captaining the team from Midfield we then dominated play and it looked only a matter of time before we would equalise. However, when another long ball was played over the top, our keeper Jose Mulcahy won the 50:50 with a great clearance, only for the ref to award a penalty. Even the other manager was speechless. We took it on the chin and stormed back up the pitch and got our reward when Neil Fitzgerald scored from a 30 yard free kick. This is Neil's third goal of the season from midfield and he has been the standout player in our first four games.

After half time we totally dominated the game with Conor Clarke doing his impersonation of Paul Scholes in midfield. In the back line we had Ben Lowen, Keith Cleary and Aaron Smyth. They worked very well together and at left back Aaron was outstanding with some great tackles, interceptions but also some great long balls into the box from his own half that kept the pressure on Strand. It was a man of the match performance and great to see him back to his best.

Up front we had created several chances through Conan Hickey, Conor and Neil but could not get a clear shot on goal. Eventually that cost us when a Strand runner from midfield skipped a tackle and his low shot squeezed under our keeper. That was the last Strand Utd seen of the ball. We spent the next 25 mins camped in their box and eventually Kamil Michalak got through and scored into the top corner. We pushed hard for an equaliser but eventually ran out of time. It was a great performance from 10 players especially as we were missing three of our normal starters and the boys should be very proud of todays game.

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