Defending champions Strand Rovers will be top of the Glencar Inn Division One over the festive season as Dillon Boyle struck a precious winner to defeat Oldtown Celtic.
Oldtown Celtic 1 Strand Rovers 2
Boyle pounced 11 minutes from the end to give Jim O’Donnell’s team the edge at St Patrick’s Park in Drumkeen.
Boyle finished after Connor Green diverted Brendan Glackin’s cross into his path. Boyle’s shot found the bottom corner of Tommy McLaughlin’s net and Strand were on their way to the summit.
The margins are wafer-thin with only seven points between the top seven sides in the Division.
The scoreless draw between Glencar and Donegal Town Reserves in Rathmullan means that Strand go top for Christmas.
They began brightly here and led when Daniel Ward’s free kick from the left-hand side managed to sneak its way past McLaughlin in the seventh minute.
Oldtown, though, were level ten minutes later. Brendan Devine took a pass from Paddy McLaughlin and Devine tucked home in style.
That came just a minute after Oldtown were denied when they looked set to equalise. Luke Friel powered in on the left, but saw his shot cannon off the underside of the crossbar with Devine’s rebound, somehow, staying out.
Boyle tested McLaughlin with a stinging volley while Green shot wide from a good position on the edge of the area for Strand.
Ryan Tyrell, an Oldtown substitute, dipped a fraction too late with an effort from 20 yards and two of the Donegal League’s newest entities went in level at the interval.
Oldtown – the former Orchard United – saw a Joe McCarron corner clip the top of the bar before McCarron was denied by a superb save from McGovern. McCarron’s free kick seemed destined for the bottom corner. McGovern, at full stretch, managed not only to make the save, but to hold onto the ball.
It proved a key moment in the tie.
Boyle prodded wide and Glackin headed off target from a good position as Strand upped the ante.
A magnificent McLaughlin save set Oldtown up to hold onto their lot, but Boyle had other ideas as he conjoured up the winner on 79 minutes.
Oldtown Celtic: Tommy McLaughlin, Kristopher McLaughlin, Gerard Roulstone, Charles McLaughlin, Barney McMenamin (Kyle Gormley (73), David King (Michael Devine 59), Joe McCarron, Michael Hawe, Luke Friel, Paddy McLaughlin, Brendan Devine (Ryan Tyrell 22).
Strand Rovers: Kevin McGovern, Chris Boyle, Daniel Ward, Shaun Sharkey (Jack Doherty 19), Shane O’Donnell, Stephen Glackin, Brendan Glackin, Doaly Boyle, Connor Green, Dillon Boyle, David McCarron.
Referee: Con McLaughlinTags: