Europa Conference League Report: Dundalk FC 3 - 1 FCB Magpies
- Tom O'Connor
- Thu, Jul 20 2023
Dundalk recorded a 3-1 victory over FCB Magpies at a sold out Oriel Park courtesy of strikes from Pat Hoban, John Martin and a late Ruben Diaz own goal which proved Joe’s stunning first half effort to be a mere consolation.
The Lilywhites made a blistering start with record goalscorer Pat Hoban firmly planting a Darragh Leahy corner kick beyond a stranded Jaylan Hankins to open the scoring in the third minute- the striker having also found the net in the last European sellout at Oriel Park, the 1-1 draw with Qarabag in 2019.
Hopes of the Magpies flying into the next round were dealt a further blow with the departure of experienced defender Joseph Chippolina in the eighth minute- the 54 time capped Gibraltar international replaced by centre back Francisco Zuniga for his first game since the end of April.
It took almost 15 minutes for the visitors to register their first effort on target but Nathan Shepperd was equal to the long range effort from Daniel Bent. Joe stung his palms once more, this time following a crisp move down the Magpies right wing as they started to take flight in the game.
However, the Welsh stopper had no chance with the midfielder’s next effort as he humdingered an effort into the top corner from the edge of the box- Dundalk paying the price for failing to make their dominance in possession count as the Magpies found the silver they were looking for.
Indeed the visitors continued to pose a danger on the break with the striking duo of Storer and Nash keeping Boyle and Annesley on their toes from defensive punts forward- most of which ended with an offside flag or the ball at the feet of Shepperd.
For their part, Dundalk were looking to their pacy widemen for inspiration- and despite failing to catch fire throughout the first half, it almost paid dividends in the dying embers but Ryan O’Kane’s fizzing effort was batted away by the underworked Jaylan Hankins as the Gibraltarians held out to go into the break level with their hosts.
Half time saw Dundalk Head Coach Stephen O’Donnell change tack as he looked to clip the Magpies wings- John Martin replacing Yli-Kokko. The Kilkenny man’s impact was instant as he found the net within three minutes of his introduction- netting from close range after Hankins parried his initial effort. Ryan O’Kane’s neat pass set up the striker for his first shot as the youngster continued to take the game to the opposition- Dundalk proving more successful in releasing the winger’s pace with John Martin’s introduction seeing the number 11 in a more advanced role than his Finnish predecessor.
Martin’s bustling nature never let the away side settle at the back and also allowed an inspired Pat Hoban to drop into a deeper midfield role. This brought an added steel to the middle for the home side in the second half and the duo complemented this brawn with brains as they combined in the Magpies box for a move which was deflected past his keeper by the unfortunate Ruben Diaz on the edge of his six yard box.
Not a game that will live long in the memory as the home side huffed and puffed at times and had plenty of the ball throughout, without forcing Jaylan Hankins into too many saves. However, the introduction of John Martin was the turning point and a much more cohesive Lilywhite outfit brushed aside their opponents in their second half.
Iceland up next in Europe for The Lilywhites as KA beat Connah’s Quay Nomads in their tie tonight to set up a fixture in Akureyri. However, before that, it’s Shamrock Rovers on Sunday in the FAI Cup at Oriel Park. Much to ponder for Stephen O’Donnell and his management team but tonight it was very much a case of job done with a place in the next round of Europe booked. For fans of the Lilywhites it’s bookings of a different nature on their mind as they race to source accommodation and flights for the next leg of this European adventure after downing the Magpies tonight.
Dundalk: Nathan Shepperd; Louie Annesley, Andy Boyle, Archie Davies, Darragh Leahy; Daniel Kelly, Connor Malley, Ryan O'Kane, Greg Sloggett, Johannes Yli-Kokko (John Martin 46); Patrick Hoban.
Subs not used: Mark Byrne, Peter Cherrie, Mayowa Animasahun, Robbie McCourt, Hayden Muller, Callum Bonner, Paul Doyle, Alfie Lewis, Dualta Honney, Anthony Moyo, Cameron Elliott.
Booked: Connor Malley (76), Patrick Hoban (79).
Sent off: None.
F.C. Bruno's Magpies: Jaylan Hankins; Joseph Chipolina (Francisco Zuniga 8), Ruben Diaz, Andre Dos Santos, Olmo Gonzalez (Anthony Hernandez 85); Juan Arguez (Jose Angel Giraldez Prieto 70), Daniel Bent (Jean Carlos Garcia 70), James Coombes (Julian Del Rio 85), Joe, Jack Storer; Liam Nash.
Subs not used: Matthew Silva, Scott Ballantine, Shay Jones, Kyle Casciaro.
Booked: James Coombes (38), Jack Storer (52), Andre Dos Santos (79).
Sent off: None.
Referee: Patrik Kolaric
extratime.com Player of the Match: Patrick Hoban
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