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Athletic see off defending champions

Nial Cooke flicks on for Strabane

Nial Cooke flicks on for Strabane

Strabane Athletic 2
Oxford Utd Stars 0

STRABANE Athletic played their first home game of 2015 when they welcomed current Intermediate League champions Oxford Utd Stars to Melvin Park.

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The visitors were first to threaten when Emmet Hargan showed good pace to break but his angled shot was wide of the post.
Strabane’s defence coped well with the early Oxford pressure and gradually began to create some chances of their own. Mickey Logue was wide with a shot from outside the box and Jordan Duffy forced a good save from the visiting keeper Sean McNeil.

It was a fairly even contest throughout the first half with Hargan and Lee Roddy testing Athletic’s keeper James O’Reilly and Joe Breslin hitting a good shot just over the bar. Breslin did have the ball in the Oxford net but it was ruled out for a handball in the build up.

The last action of the half saw Sean Lynch fire in a dangerous cross but there was no one there to meet it and it remained scoreless at the interval.

It was Athletic who started the second half with more urgency and Willie Heffernan crossed for Sean Lynch to head downward but straight at the keeper. Shortly after this Gerard Donaghey passed to Jordan Duffy who was pushed over in the box and the referee pointed to the spot. Up stepped Mickey Logue to give Strabane the lead.

Strabane continued to hold the upper hand for most of the second period but Oxford were dangerous on the break and O’Reilly had to make a good save from Ryan McFadden’s shot. Athletic eventually achieved the breathing space their pressure deserved when Joe Breslin’s fine header hit the crossbar and Sean Lynch was there to head home the rebound.

The Derry side tried hard to get a goal back but solid goalkeeping from O’Reilly on a very bumpy surface ensured the home team kept a clean sheet.

This was a pleasing display by Athletic who were well served by all their players as they earned three points in their pursuit of league leaders Trojans FC.

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The Strabane Chronicle is published by North West of Ireland Printing & Publishing Company Limited, trading as North-West News Group.
Registered in Northern Ireland, No. R0000576. 15 Main Street, Strabane, Co. Tyrone, Northern Ireland, BT82 8AS