Barbour adds cutting edge to Harts-Hunts

by Dave Donnelly

HARTSTOWN Huntstown took one step closer to survival in LSL Sunday Senior 1B with a hard-earned 1-0 win over Mid Sutton/Sportslink on Sunday afternoon.
January signing Christopher Barbour was the man who settled the tie at Sportslink Santry, the former amateur international netting a classy long-range finish in the second half.
39-year-old Darren McGrath – who until last year had been player-manager of the club – was named man of the match as the Blanch side kept a clean sheet to move up to fifth in the table.
Having beaten Peamount United the previous week only to see the result expunged due to Peamount’s departure from the league, the Blanch club were on a four-game losing streak.
Their last official victory had come in November, when they hammered Mid Sutton 7-1 at home – their sole win amid seven defeats.
“We went out to Mid Sutton in good spirits off the back of [the Peamount game] and dominated the game,” assistant coach and director of football David Byrne told the Dublin Gazette.
“We were tested by the Mid Sutton guys who put pressure on the defence but thankfully we saw the game through and it finished 1-0.”
In the first half, the visitors had to be thankful for the performance of goalkeeper Kyle Delavari after he saved spectacularly from a penalty.
Defender McGrath returned to the side this month after taking six months out to train for a marathon, and his return has provided much-needed stability at the back..
Barbour’s surprise move from Collinstown has provided them with a cutting edge, while Brian Lynam and Sean O’Reilly have returned from St Mochta’s and Verona.
While the result does lift the progressive young club up to fifth in the table, they’ve played more games than any other club in the division and boast the lowest goal differential.
Their recent run of poor form outside the victories over Mid Sutton has seen the club nervously looking over its shoulder at the relegation places below them.
Peamount’s decision to drop out of intermediate has eased those worries somewhat, with just two relegation spots left, but Byrne isn’t taking anything for granted.
“We played Peamount and beat them 3-1. They’ve since left the fold of intermediate football unfortunately, but it’s good for us as they’re one of the teams that will go down this year.
“The table can be deceiving in a sense. If we won our last eight games we’d have a chance of promotion.
“If we lose the majority of the games, we’re still in with a chance of relegation.
“We’ve eight games left in the league and our priority is to secure intermediate football, which is a massive part of the club’s overall plan.”

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