Four second half goals put the gloss on a comprehensive performance from Ardee Celtic on Sunday afternoon – as they saw off Navan Town 5-0 at Townparks to remain just two points off the top of the NEFL O’Neill’s Sportswear Division One.
Two successful spot kicks from Robbie Reynolds were added to by a brace from Gareth Kane and one from Robbie McNeice as Ardee Celtic secured their biggest win of the league camapaign thus far to keep the pressure on their rivals towards the top end of the table.
With OMP having won in midweek against Athboy and having followed that up with another victory today against Torro United, Ardee knew that the push for promotion places was tightening up.
The visit of mid-table Navan Town offered the opportunity to get back to winning ways for Celtic after their 1-1 draw in Athboy seven days ago – and that they did with clinical precision.
Whilst Ardee Celtic were considered favourites against opposition that are the very definition of inconsistent (this result means Navan’s league results this season are W5 D5 L5), up to seven first team players were missing for Town – losses that further hampered their chances out on the Bog.
Eddie Burke had the home team’s first chance of the game but after being denied by Navan stopper Ben Clarke, Paul Carrie headed the resultant corner wide. Mikey Nulty’s long range effort required a good save by Clarke before the breakthrough came shortly before the interval.
McNeice was caught by a Navan defender in the penalty area and the reliable Reynolds stepped up to convert from 12 yards. With no substitutes among their travelling party, Navan didn’t have much option to change things around but almost snatched an equaliser after the resumption.
From a corner, Aaron Kavanagh hit the frame of Declan Butler’s goal. It was 2-0 shortly after when McNeice intercepted David Gavin’s loose ball to teammate John Power. The attacker advanced and shot low past Clarke.
It was 3-0 after 64 minutes when Reynolds again showed his proficiency from the penalty spot. Referee Joe Dyas awarded Celtic a second spot kick when Reynolds himself was clipped in the area. He got up and dusted himself down before notching his second of the day.
Late on, two goals from teenage substitute Gareth Kane rounded things off for Ardee who saw this five goal drubbing of Navan do no harm whatsoever to their goal difference. Also on Sunday, fellow title chasers Enfield Celtic and Black Bull clashed at the MDL Grounds with Enfield emerging victorious 4-0.
That result means Black Bull – who were top for almost all of the campaign to date – have dropped to fourth and now just four points separate the top four in the race for the title and a place at in the Premier Division in 2016/17.
NEFL Division One – Top Four
Thanks as always to Paudi Wright of Ardee Celtic for match details.