Gaffey instrumental as Willow Park claim stunning comeback league win




Willow Park completed an amazing second half comeback to defeat Collinstown FC in a five goal thriller at DPD Park on Friday night last.

The home team trailed by two goals to nil at the break but the introduction of Ryan Gaffey for the second half sparked the home team into life, the substitute involved in all three goals as Willow turned the game around to claim a vital league win.

The hosts had the first chance after three minutes when a free kick from Callum Lynch was tipped over the bar by the goalkeeper, but Collinstown pounced for the opening goal from their first attack on 10 minutes, as Eoin Hunter ran onto a through ball and flicked it over goalkeeper Jordan Nugent to the net.

Willow responded and had a couple of chances to grab an equaliser. A shot from the right by Ryan Carberry was saved while Lynch’s shot on the turn was collected by the keeper.

The visitors then doubled their lead after 35 minutes when an ill-advised clearance across his goalmouth by Nugent was intercepted by Jake O’Rourke who returned the ball to the net past the out of position keeper. In the last action of the half, Willow’s Kaelyn Thompson had a chance cleared while Neil Macken also fired wide.

The second half saw Willow complete an amazing comeback and win. Gaffey and Mark Sherlock were introduced to the fray and offered a huge presence up front, the first home goal coming seven minutes into the half. A cross from the left was headed back by Sherlock and Gaffey showed great skill to find the net with an overhead strike. It put Willow back in the game and unsettled the Dublin outfit.

Gaffey further tried his luck with a free kick which the keeper gathered but the visitors still looked dangerous and Hunter came close to scoring again with two attempts on goal in as many minutes. Gaffey was relishing the challenge following his half time introduction and kept the keeper on his toes with a long range effort which was caught. Gaffey was further denied by the Collinstown keeper who pushed over his free kick strike.

It was still proving a frustrating night for the hosts and, as the game headed into the final 10 minutes, it looked like defeat was on the agenda. Gaffey had other ideas however and was involved in the equaliser. The substitute was fouled and then delivered the resulting free kick which was touched home from the head of Ciaran McGuinness.

Rather than settle for a share of the spoils, the home team now went in search of a winner. Gaffey was denied by the keeper after 83 minutes but was again involved two minutes later as Willow struck for the winner when his free kick went to the net off the post as the comeback was completed in amazing fashion. Gaffey was unstoppable and could have completed his hat trick on the stroke of full time but once more was denied by the keeper who pushed his free kick over.


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