A Star for effort in six-goal thriller to start UCFL season

by Gazette Reporter

By John Mooney

UCFL Division 3B

No sooner had one season finished than the next UCFL campaign was up and running with a three day turnaround between 2019/20 and 2020/21 seasons.

Admittedly only a handful of games went ahead and one of those was in Stannaway Park, when Bushy Athletic met newcomers to the League, Astars FC, in a Division 3B clash.

A final score of 3-3 was a fair enough result in a game that was stop-start due to the amount of free kicks that were awarded. Two players got their marching orders, one from each side, both for second bookable offences, but any player cautioned was for more mistimed tackles than anything malicious.

The visitors will look back and be kicking themselves for letting 2-0 and 3-2 leads dwindle but, in your first game, it’s important not to lose and they achieved that objective.

Emmanuel Ovakpoyen set them on their way on 27 minutes when he hoofed a long ball from inside his own half down field. The wind caught it, Bushy keper Mark Dunne was off his line and the ball ended up in the net.

It was a freak goal but their second, on the stroke of half time, was anything but. Carl Maher sent in a corner from the right, Ovakpoyen made the run to the near post which drew the defenders and Sam Babokinni nipped in at the back to head home.

That good work was undone a minute into the second half as Ovakpoyen lost control of the ball on the edge of his area and Scott Kavanagh slotted home.

It was an unexpected boost so early in the half and it put a spring in the home side’s step, but they had to wait till the midway point to equalise as Ste McDermott sent over a free kick that Kavanagh delivered into the net.

Each side then had a player sent off before the visitors scored what seemed to be the winner with eight minutes to go, as Enoch Odesunya’s cross cannoned off two defenders and ended up in the net.

But, with four minutes remaining, it was 3-3 when Mike Tougher latched onto another McDermott free kick to gain a share of the spoils.

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