WITH most games called off across all divisions of the CCFL this weekend credit must be given to the officials at Clara Town for ensuring this league game went ahead despite conditions.
CCFL Division 4B
Clara Town 0
St Carthage's Athletic 1
Snow and ice were cleared from the pitch and the ground underfoot was tricky but playable. This was the first outing for both sides in over seven weeks as the recent cold snap has played havoc with the fixture listings.
St Carthage's went into the game and New Year on top of the league but with a host of other teams beneath them with games in hand the pressure was on the Rahan side to get off to a good start and that's exactly what they did.
Throughout the early stages Saints gained a foothold in the game and early chances fell to new signing Anthony Doyle and winger Patrick Walsh.
Fifteen minutes into the first half Daniel Colsh sent a header straight at the 'keeper and he was unlucky not to have been awarded a penalty just before when it seemed he was taken out by the Clara 'keeper following a cross from Tom O'Gorman on the right.
As the first half developed it was clear that Clara were going to try beat the off side trap but the Saints defence held solid throughout and with the help of some timely covering tackles from Saints defenders the game remained scoreless.
Both Ger Conroy and Derek Dolan at full back were completing for every ball and laying some good ball forward for the midfielders to use while at centre back both Jason Kirwan and Leon Looby won the aerial battles and marshalled the line well.
The only goal of the game came twenty minutes into the second half when Daniel Colsh found space on the left of the six yard box. He moved the ball from left to right to find space and curled an excellent effort over the keeper into the far corner to give St. Carthage's Athletic a deserved lead.
Saints were enjoying decent possession at this stage with Ed Finnerty and Jimmy Mulpeter laying the groundwork for the attacking moves from central midfield.
Saints could have doubled their advantage ten minutes after the opening goal when Patrick Walsh met Tom O'Gorman's corner kick from the right but after finding space in the box he powered his header over the bar.
At the other end Clara were starting to ask more questions as the game went into the final sates and Saints stopper Jimmy O'Brien was called into action on successive occasions to deny the Clara forwards.
The late pressure from the home side was weathered by St. Carthage's and they seen out the game confidently to land a vital three points. Saints Manager Clive Evans was delighted as the victory now puts pressure back on the teams below who still need to convert games into points to over haul the Rahan side.
All sides in this division seem to be picking up points from each other so the promotion race will no doubt go down to the wire.
St Carthage's Athletic FC: Jimmy O'Brien, Ger Conroy, Jason Kirwan, Leon Looby, Derek Dolan, Jimmy Mulpeter, Edwin Finnerty, Tom O'Gorman, Patrick Walsh, Anthony Doyle, Daniel Colsh. Matthew Walsh, Jamie Cuskelly, Dave Walsh.