By Paul Hogan
Mayfield Utd 6 (O’Donnell pen 10, 86, O’Connell 59, Eoin McCarthy 68, Tabb 77, 78) Leeside 1 (Griffin 41)
A serious statement of intent was issued to all teams in the MSL First Division tonight as Mayfield began with an emphatic win over visitors Leeside.
Coming in at half-time level at 1-1 and a fair scoreline on the balance of play, it is difficult to envisage how the game could finish so one-sided but credit to Mayfield who took their chances with aplomb.
A penalty kick put Mayfield in front after Brendan O’Donnell was upended in the penalty area and he picked himself up to convert the spotter on 10 minutes.
A frantic opening half ensued from end to end with Leeside trying to avail of a strong wind and both teams creating decent half chances but it was a goal of the season contender from Stephen Griffin that levelled proceedings just before half-time.
Picking the ball up on the half way line he spotted Ryan Delaney off his line and unleashed a magnificent effort which flew directly into the goal.
A magnificent goal from Leeside’s number 10 and all square at the break.
Mayfield almost got off to the ideal start in the second half when Matthew Ekhosueki went clean through within a minute of the restart but his scuffed effort on goal fell to O’Donnell and his tap in was ruled offside by referee, Dan Deady.
A Scott McCarthy set piece was put on the head of substitute, Troy O’Sullivan on 55 minutes but he directed his headed effort just off target.
The pressure was beginning in tell though and Leeside’s resistance was broken just before the hour mark when Dean O’Connell had his initial effort saved by Ray Savage and in the ensuing scramble the ball again broke again to O’Connell who found the bottom right hand corner with a sweet left-footed strike.
Leeside responded well but with Mady Cisse looking assured at the back for Mayfield it was the home side who extended their lead on 66 minutes with the marauding Scott McCarthy getting to the byline and pulling back for Luke Byrne to fire home from 12 yards.
Mayfield were relentless at this stage and despite Leeside showing plenty of endeavour it was Mayfield who continued the scoring and on 77 minutes, William Tabb picked up the ball outside the penalty area and unleashed a powerful drive past Savage to make it four.
And within a minute he was scoring his second and Mayfield’s fifth after he was released through the middle with a pin point pass before placing the ball past the advancing Savage.
Tabb should have completed his hat-trick on 83 minutes but he opted for power and blasted his effort narrowly over when he should have scored.
However, the scoring was completed on 86 minutes when Mayfield broke at pace and when the ball was rolled out left to O’Donnell, he finished calmly to cap off a resounding opening night for Mayfield against a gallant Leeside who will fell hard done by the scoreline.
Afterwards, we got the thoughts of Mayfield Utd manager, Craig Robinson, ” We are delighted with the result, great to get off to a good start but back to work now again for the next game.
“We have put a lot of pressure on ourselves this year and are setting high standards in the squad and the first half showed it in the players.
“The nerves were showing and we were lucky not to go in at half-time behind.
“I think the second half showed our strength in the squad however and the fitness levels.
“We have 25 quality players this season all with different attributes to bring and the lads that came off the bench made a huge impact and are knocking on the door to start the next game.
“Finally, I just want to say also that Leeside are a good young side and will do very well this year even though the result might not show that,” said Craig.
Mayfield Utd: Ryan Delaney, Mark O’Callaghan, Scott McCarthy, Mady Cisse, Mark O’Donnell, Christopher McCarthy, Eoin Quirke, Thomas Kelly, Matthew Ekhosueki, Dean O’Connell, Brendan O’Donnell. Subs: William Tabb, Kevin Eck, Troy O’Sullivan, Conor Sexton, Luke Byrne, Eoin McCarthy, Josh McAuliffe.
Leeside: Ray Savage, Coalan O’Callaghan, Shane Carry, Stephen Horgan, Shaun Sweeney, Robert O’Connor, Nathanial Gumbo, Jack Ford, Brendan Horgan, Stephen Griffin, Adam Horgan. Subs: Dylan Stansfield, Danny Lynch, Matthew Long, Shane Waters, Julius Leke, Keith Cotter.
Referee: Dan Deady.