Two (or three) for Harrison as Slane beat title favourites

� Paul Byrne Photography INBL14-220PB
� Paul Byrne Photography INBL14-220PB

A Gregg Harrison double, or perhaps a hat-trick helped Moneyslane to a 3-1 victory over promotion favourites Valley Rangers on Friday night to keep their own promotion hopes alive.

The forward bagged Slane’s second and third and even had a claim on the first as he possibly got a touch on Kerr’s shot on route to the goal.

Only Robert Murdoch and Mark Ervine were missing through injury so there was a good squad available.

Moneyslane were clearly fired up for the game and, for the first 15 minutes, seemed to be winning every header and 50/50 challenge with the pace of Harrison and Adair causing problems for the away team.

The first chance fell to Harrison on 11 minutes when he chased on to a through ball but from a narrow angle the keeper just managed to get a hand to the lob.

A series of good deliveries from corners by young Adair tested the Valley defence but they dealt with them. A great opportunity was squandered on 15 minutes when a defender was caught in possession and the loose ball was fired just over from 14 yards by Bingham. Then on 25 minutes against the run of play the away team took the lead when a striker picked up the ball out on the left channel and drifted infield past two players before driving the ball into the bottom corner for a great strike.

Within 10 minutes, Moneyslane were level when, from another corner, Kerr fired into the net with the ball taking a deflection off Harrison on the line. It certainly waws one for the dubious goals panel.

The second half was more even than the first with both teams showing plenty of endeavour and effort without too many clear cut chances.

The key moment arrived on 60 minutes when Moneyslane broke quickly from a corner and Bingham found Nesbitt, who played a great through ball for Harrison just in opponents half.

Harrison’s lightning pace took him past the defenders and, under pressure from two defenders behind him, coolly rounded the keeper and stroked the ball into the empty net much to the delight of the large home support.

The away team made some changes and started to push for an equaliser and only an excellent stop from Blevins denied them when he when he raced out to narrow the angle saving first with his feet then getting up smartly for the loose ball.

Valley Rangers were getting plenty of crosses into the home box but the two Slane centre backs Shilladay and Kerr were excellent.

The game was still in the balance until the 80th minute when a long throw into the box to Harrison saw the striker clipped from behind and the ref had no hesitation in pointing to the spot. Harrison stepped up and calmly slotted home to make it 3-1.

Valley threw caution to the wind and put the home team under pressure. Adair came off for Fairley and then Anderson came on for the injured Weir. 

With five minutes to go Valley hit the bar from a free-kick and the rebound was headed home only for the referee to blow for offside.

There was relief and joy at the final whistle as Moneyslane force their way back into the promotion hunt with a valuable three points.

MONEYSLANE: Blevins, Weir, Davenport, Kerr, Shilliday, Gracey, Bingham, Nesbitt, Whitten, Harrison, Adair.

Subs: Quinn, Fairley, Anderson, Boyd and Rowland.