Thursday, May 26, 2005

The Season's Greatest Comeback in Full

ASTRO LEAGUE DIV.5: FC Hollywood 5-5 Bucky Ramblers

FC Hollywood completed an astonishing second half comeback when Enda Mulry converted a controversial penalty with almost the last kick of the game to earn a draw scarcely imaginable at half time.

Ramblers appeared to be coasting to a comfortable victory at the break, leading 4-2 after a first half in which Hollywood, listless and disorganised, seemed keen to hand over the three points on a plate. Hollywood began the game a goal to the good, due to Ramblers inability to provide a satisfactory ball. Indeed, there would not have been a ball to play with at all had Hollywood keeper Tommy Martin not cleverly purloined one from Grove Pool on the neighbouring pitch. It was not to be Martin’s last contribution to this incredible contest…

The athletic keeper appeared to take all leave of his senses when bounding from his goal early on only to flap clownishly at the cross. Ramblers greedily snaffled up the gift and Hollywood, with only a lame Daire Lynam on the bench, sensed a long evening ahead.

The Oranginos went behind when a speculative Ramblers ball eluded defensive lynchpins Damien Ryan and John O’Donnell, and was rifled home off the post.

Hollywood did their best to offer resistance, Richie Mc Evoy and Mulry combining to deliver a cross that just eluded dashing front man Killian Buckley. It was but brief respite for Hollywood.

In the space of five minutes they found themselves 4-1 down, the third goal deflecting wickedly past Martin, the fourth the result of slack marking at the back post, Ramblers rotund auxiliary man poking it home, and, it seemed, laying to rest Hollywood’s ailing hopes.

But such a conclusion ignored Hollywood’s famous fighting spirit…

Mulry gave the men in orange a lifeline just before the break with a wickedly spinning shot, but the real drama was soon to follow.

In a daring tactical manoeuvre, Hollywood switched the cripple Lynam into goal for the second half, allowing Martin outfield and creating an extra sub. Martin initially went into defence, but his ample presence could not prevent Ramblers taking what appeared to be an unassailable lead shortly after the break, Lynam seemingly deceived by the dimensions of the goal.

And then, the miracle….

Hollywood had thrown caution to the wind, and the game took on a thrilling end to end complexion, Lynam saving the Oranginos on several occasions before, following good work from Ryan and McEvoy, Martin lashed home a ferocious left footed volley to bring some doubt to proceedings.

Ramblers pushed on looking to kill the game, but were soon stung again. Mulry brought the ball out of defence on the left flank before lobbing it towards Martin on the same wing. The multi-talented Donegalman brought the ball under control, then feinting to cross, shimmied, Cruyff-like past the left back before clipping the ball square to the onrushing Mulry who stroked the ball home clinically.

Game on!

Hollywood’s courageous comeback was completed on the stroke of full time. Ryan delivered a free kick into a Ramblers penalty area teeming with bodies grappling for position. The referee blew his whistle, awarding a penalty for a foul on O‘Donnell, to the consternation of Ramblers shell-shocked rearguard. Mulry nervelessly tucked the spot kick home to claim the unlikeliest of points on a night of high drama at St.Andrews.


Blogger ian rush's moustache said...

Surely it is only a matter of time before FC Hollywood reclaim their rightful place in Div 4 of the Astro League?

1:11 p.m.  

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