LSL Division 1
It's a massive result for the Saints who remain on top of the table and in a fantastic position as the Christmas break approaches. It was a much changed side from last weeks win against Ballincollig AFC. David Doyle made his debut in goal replacing the injured Warren Fee. Doyle had a good solid game. His distribution was very good and he was confident and assured. Luke Harrison returned to the side replacing the unavailable Craig Sheridan. Karl Somers remains on the injured list and his brother David missed out through suspension. Harrison was excellent beside the talented Nathan Brown and both full backs Smith and Wilson had fine games. It's a testament to the quality of the squad that with a lot of talent absent the Saints won and played some superb football.
It was Brown who came closest to opening the scoring with a header from a John Reilly cross in the 10th minute. The Saints had plenty of possession in the first half with Lancaster and Reilly both testing the Rovers goalkeeper. The football was neat and attractive and with every player working so hard it was extremely difficult for Rovers to dictate the game. Nathan Brown hit the post with a header in the 38th minute from Lancaster's free kick. Reilly went close just before half time when he went on a magnificent run but his finish couldn't steer the ball into the corner of the net. It was a brilliant first half but the score remained 0 - 0 at half time.
The Saints dominated the second half with Lyons testing the Rovers goalkeeper from distance in the 53rd minute and two minutes later the Rovers goalkeeper made a brilliant save to deny Crowe. Urged on by a frozen and vocal away support the Saints took the lead thanks to Glen Crowe's penalty in the 61st minute. The referee had no choice but to point to the spot, it was a blatant penalty and the Saints finally had a goal for all their dominance. Stephen Deegan had a great chance to make it 2-0 four minutes later when he beat the offside trap but was denied a goal when the goalkeeper made a good save to keep Rovers in the game. Deegan was outstanding and he had his best game of the season. Lyons hit the post from a free kick with 20 minutes remaining and when the second goal didn't arrive it made for a nervy last fifteen minutes. Christopher Doran came on for his debut replacing Martin O' Neill in the 73rd minute. Doran did well and worked hard and won some important tackles. O' Neill worked tirelessly for the team considering he was ill during the week. With the clock approaching 90 minutes Rovers threw at the Saints who held firm and thoroughly deserved the win.
The football was exceptional against a very good side. Nothing is won in December and nobody will be getting carried away but it's certainly a very nice feeling to be sitting on top of the table. The league table doesn't lie, the Saints sit were they deserve to be.
Team : Doyle, Wilson, Brown, Harrison, Smith, Lyons ( M. Sheridan 83 ) O' Neill ( Doran 73 ), Lancaster ( O' Brien 45 ) Reilly, Crowe.
Subs : O' Brien ,M. Sheridan, Snowe, Doran.