SALTHILL DEVON 2
FANAD UNITED 0
First Division Salthill Devon scraped through to the next round of the EA Sports Cup after fortunately seeing off a resilient Fanad United at Drom on Monday night thanks to a first half strike from Victor Collins and a late lob from Daniel Rupa.
In bitterly cold conditions, Fanad thought they had made a dream start after seven minutes when a Brian Lafferty free swung in from the right was headed in by Declan O’Donnell – but was ruled out for pushing in the box.
Just four minutes later the home side were awarded a penalty when a counter attack saw Daniel Rupa’s darting run into the box brought to an end by the clumsy challenge of Shaun McElwaine giving the referee little choice.
In a month where Giovanni Trapattoni will be without the services of Shay Given, his younger brother Paul showed his talents by saving Cian McBrien’s weak spotkick which he sent straight down the middle.
The home side were largely comfortable in possession and limited Fanad’s attacking threat in the first half, and after just eighteen minutes the home side hit the front.
Shane Browne burst forward on the left and after classily nutmegging Brian Lafferty, he fed the ball forward to Victor Collins who let the ball run ahead of him before firing into the far bottom corner.
The beginning of the second half was largely forgetful with both sides very restricted to shots on goal with Rupa and Ryan McCullagh blazing over from distance for both sides.
As the final ten minutes approached, Fanad had a host of chances in quick succession to stun the hosts and force extra-time, first with McCullagh heading inches wide as the ball came in from a corner and Devon were caught napping.
With sudden wind in their sails, they forced another corner a minute later and Fanad substitute Paul McVeigh’s first touch from his head almost landed in the net only for Power to deny him.
Suddenly United looked the far likely scorers and starting piling on the pressure on the hosts who whose nerves went into overdrive. Yet another corner saw defender Darren McGowan volley inches wide of the top corner, as the clutched his head in despair at what might have been.
One more gilt-edged chance would fall to Ollie Horgan’s side – as a Trevor Gethins free kick was floated into the dangerzone and it fell to Davitt Walsh; only for him to be denied by a another fabulous save from Power.
By this stage even Given had pushed well forward but was punished for his efforts when Power quickly dispatched the ball and it broke to Rupa.
As Given scrambled frantically towards his box, Lupa lobbed spectacularly from around forty yards right at the death to seal it for the hosts who were far from their best, and Fanad undoubtedly spent the long journey home cursing their luck.
Salthill Devon: Bernard Power; Eugene Greaney, Wesley Charles (Paddy Quinlan 83mins), Cian Fadden, Gearoid O’Leidhinn; Shane Browne (Julian Howley 65mins), Chiprian Straut, Cian McBrien, Brian Gaffney (Etanda Nkolo 75mins); Victor Collins, Daniel Rupa.
Fanad United: Paul Given; Darren McGowan, Declan O’Donnell, Shaun McElwaine, Brian Lafferty; Alan Gethins, Seamus Friel, Trevor Gethins, Paddy Bonner (Paul McVeigh 67mins); Ryan McCullagh (Chris McBride 77mins), Davitt Walsh.
Referee: Conor Fitzgerald (Dublin).