Palace Park Unity Vs St. Patrick’s – 2004
Palace Park Unity 0 – 2 St. Patrick’s
The Regional Cup draw pulled out a really tough away fixture for us at Palace Park Unity. Palace are a decent outfit and on their own turf would be tricky to outmanoeuvre. We therefore travelled to Drumoyne well aware of the challenge ahead. However, the first challenge was the M8 with its lanes filled with motors heading in all directions across the city, all keeping the economy ticking in one way or another.
Ricky had to pull out in the last minute due to illness. Michael and Dom were still out recovering. Euan made kick-off just, having travelled to game from an earlier basketball fixture. Regardless, it all came together in the end. As the hosts kicked off we confidently pressed on with discipline, playing to our strengths. We earned an early throw-in on the left in the hosts’ own half and Jamie took it. He found Harald, who controlled the ball then turned to attack. Our forward’s bold run took him towards goal, saw an opening and grabbed his chance for a strike. He struck the ball on the bounce low and it crept into the bottom right corner. We were ahead with two minutes on the clock. Certainly plenty of time for the home side to hit back and unfortunately for us to hold our slender lead. Palace lifted their game but we never made it easy. They came close with a fierce long range shot from midfield but Lennon had it covered, smothering the ball with his full body. The battle between two teams wielding muscle, pace and skill was no doubt a great spectacle for the neutrals. Otherwise, strong focus was required as any mistake without cover could be costly to either team. We went to the break still leading by a solitary goal.
Joe came on in goals for Lennon. Ben paid the price for an intense coming together with the opposition. He bravely laid his body on the line and came off worse. His efforts could not be faulted however. Owen was thrown on. We expected the hosts to mount a fight back, and we counted by going for it regardless. Our bravery almost paid off with eight minutes into the second half. Euan pressed a loose back pass and was brought down into the box for a penalty. He dusted himself, took it and missed, striking the ball just wide. The disappointment didn’t phase us however. We earned a couple of corners in succession. Aidan delivered a great second corner to the second post and Patrick rose majestically to guide a header into the net. The travelling support were overjoyed and relieved at the same time. But Palace would not go down without a fight. We threw Jack on for Euan to add steel and resilience to a busy midfield. Aidan partnered Harald upfront for the remainder of the game. Palace put more pressure on our defence as the clock counted down, but they could not get past a Joe in fine form. Our keeper pulled off a couple of amazing saves to keep the hosts at bay. Indeed, Joe had a commanding performance in goals to frustrate Palace. He also made his presence known in the final corner kicks when he came out of his line to punch the ball away. Dylan was pulled up by the ref for a heavy challenge but otherwise showed great leadership with a very mature performance. The final whistle came to put an end to an enthralling game as we booked our place into the next round.
It certainly was a good result in the end. However, most satisfying for us was the maturity of the performance and the discipline shown throughout the game.