Square United suffered a home defeat to league leaders OMP United on Sunday afternoon – with the Meath proving too strong for the home team at the Boys School Field, running out 0-3 winners.
A first half goal from Mickey Brennan was added to by Gavin Boyle’s early second half header before Brennan his second and 12th of the campaign to leave Square looking ominously over their shoulder in the battle to avoid the drop to the third tier.
Woodview Celtic’s win over Athboy on Friday night, coupled with Torro’s point at Navan earlier on Sunday, meant that things had tightened up towards the bottom. The Ardee men came into this afternoon’s game with just a three point buffer from the three team drop zone.
Last week’s win over Torro United was Square’s fifth of the campaign – and their first on home soil. It was imperative that United took that opportunity to pick up all three points as the prospect of taking anything against tabletoppers OMP will rightly have been viewed as more possible than probable.
That possibility however looked a real one early on as Square started brightly. Martin Duffy’s left wing cross was met by Mark Quinn. His looping header was collected by OMP stopper David Nolan. Then from a breakaway, Duffy failed to pick out Chris Kelly’s clever run.
It took the league leaders 15 minutes to muster an effort on goal – after firing over from range, Vincent Clinton was forced into making a fine diving save to tip a shot around the post. Before, OMP hit the front, Square went close themselves.
A quick break from a corner saw Darren McNeil play in Martin Duffy but after he cut in from the right, his rising shot cleared the bar. Two minutes later a ball forward from right back Davy Bracken wasn’t dealt with by the Square centre backs and after Clinton raced off his line, striker Mickey Brennan slotted into the net.
Not to be deterred, United impressed between going behind the half time whistle. Duffy was again involved. He intercepted the ball in midfield and advanced towards goal, bursting past three players, before hitting a time shot straight at Nolan. Shortly after, his 20 yard free kick was well hit but saved.
Three minutes before the interval, Mark Quinn played in right back Gary McKenny who’s cross-cum-shot flashed across the goal and went just outside the post. After the restart, Clinton was again called into action, producing a brilliant save to deny Brennan.
After Duffy conceded a free kick on the edge of the area, Andy Kearney clipped in a ball and Gavin Boyle got his head to it to give Square an almighty task. The home side saw Clinton dash off his line and take down an attacker just outside the area, but referee ?? showed a yellow with men behind the ball.
Brennan shot over as OMP looked for a third but Square should have halved the deficit in the next attack. Great footwork from Andrew Egan saw him mke his way into the area but after cutting the back, Jonny Sheridan blazed his shot over.
The game ended as a contest when Square lost the ball upfield. OMP worked it forward with the home midfield missing in action and David Bowen’s centered for Brennan who sidefooted in. With three games to go, points are still imperative for the Ardee men. Next up is a trip to bottom club Kentstown Rovers on Sunday.
SQUARE UNITED: Vincent Clinton, Gary McKenny, Stefan Halpenny, Andy Rogers, Dermot Caraher, Darren McNeil, Jonny Sheridan, Andrew Egan, Martin Duffy (Cian Halpenny, 63), Chris Kelly (Peter Clarke, 78), Mark Quinn (Liam Farrell, 78).