WWIC – Round 3:

Goodwick United 3

Merlins Bridge 2

Rhys Dalling bagged a late winner to help Goodwick United narrowly edge out holders Merlins Bridge in a highly entertaining cup clash at Phoenix Park.

Dalling pounced in the 26th minute to give The Phoenix Boys a slender one-goal cushion at the break. Early in the second period Mattie Delaney made no mistake from the spot to give his side a 2-0 cushion.

However, The Wizards were not going to lie down, and back they came with two wonderful strikes from Will Haworth and Joe Leahy to level matters, but the hosts showed great resilience as Dalling nipped in and headed home a dramatic winner.

Games between these two top sides are always tight, and this was no exception as Wayne O’Sullivan’s Goodwick’s troops just edged the verdict to reach the last sixteen.

There were few clear-cut chances in the first half, Jalthough early on Jordan Griffiths got on the end of a Jonny Horgan cross but Wizards keeper James Dixon did well to push it wide.

In the 26th minute Dalling broke the deadlock when he got on the end of Griffiths’ cross and lashed home from 12 yards.

The second half really livened up with two penalties and plenty of goal scoring chances at both ends. Leahy’s vicious strike crashed off the crossbar and the striker would have been disappointed he didn’t hit the target.

Minutes later and the visitors were awarded a penalty, Goodwick keeper James Gwilt pulled off a stunning save off the post to deny luckless Leahy.

Three minutes later and Chris Ormond fouled Dalling inside the area, up stepped Mattie Delaney who coolly finished from 12 yards to put his side two up.

Still Simon Thomas’ Wizards refused to be beaten as they mounted a terrific fightback and got back on level terms with two top drawer strikes.

Will Haworth’s superb free kick flew in the top corner - and five minutes later Leahy equalised with a stunning 25-yard strike to square matters.

At that stage this cup tie looked as if it could have gone either way, but it was the hosts who grabbed the crucial winner in the 78th minute.

Steff Hayes’ low throw was flicked on in the box and unmarked Dalling headed home to earn his team victory in a ding-dong battle against one of their arch rivals.

“I’m really proud of the boys,” said Goodwick boss Wayne O’Sullivan. “Games between us and the Bridge are always tight affairs, and this was no exception. If I’m honest the result could have gone either way, thankfully it went our way in the end.”

“We did well to come back from two down,” said Bridge manager Simon Thomas. “It’s disappointing to lose but that’s cup football. Good luck to them for the rest of the competition.”

Goodwick United: James Gwilt, Steff Hayes, Scott Delaney, James Bryan, Llyr Tobin, Mattie Delaney, Ben Adams, Kieran O’Brien, Jordan Griffiths, Rhys Dalling, Jonny Horgan. Subs: Sion O’Sullivan, Steff Williams, Jake Smith, Iwan James, A. Williams.

Merlins Bridge: James Dickson, Andrew John, Chris Ormond, Simon Gilderdale, Peter Thomas, Will Haworth, David Davies, Jordan Williams, Joe Leahy, Matthew D’Ivry, Nathan Greene. Subs: Luke Hayward, Lee Hudgell, Jordan Thomas, Ben Davies, Ashley Beck.