LSL Sunday Senior 1
Drumcondra/Stella Maris 1
TEK United 2
TEK United manager Les Flynn says he would have feared for his side’s chances of staying up had they not secured a vital three points away to Drumcondra on Friday night.
It’s been a long time coming but the Stradbrook club’s first win of the season lifted them out of the relegation zone of the first time since August.
TEK had lost just one of their previous five league games going into the tie at Dublin Port Authority Stadium but were neck and neck with Drums with a game more played.
Robbie Mullen and Paddy Byrne put TEK two goals to the good within 15 minutes and they held out despite Joss Heffernan pulling a goal back for Drums to set up a nervy finish.
The visitors hit the front within minutes of kick-off as Mullen was first to react when a shot rebounded off the post, and he tucked away the loose ball with his left foot.
The second goal wasn’t long in coming after a brilliant run from Brian Horgan saw him beat three men on the right and square for striker Byrne to slot into an empty net from three yards.
TEK, playing into the wind, were in their element against a side thumped 10-1 by Maynooth University Town two weeks earlier and they looked to press home their dominance.
They hit the post twice more in the run-up to half time, but Drums rocked back with a goal of their own before half time as Heffernan finished smartly.
“It was more of a must-win for us than them, to be honest,” Flynn told the Dublin Gazette.
“I would have feared if we’d lost Friday, and that’s being honest. If we had have lost Friday, I would have said to myself ‘we’re in big trouble’. That three points is huge for us.
“It’s our first win of the season and hopefully when we come back we can start motoring again.
“We finished strong last year – I think we finished fifth or sixth. I’d be happy now if you told me we were going to finish one place above relegation.”
TEK have paid the price for a stuttering start to the season, which started brightly as they raced into a 2-0 lead against Glenville on the opening day.
They were fortunate to escape with a draw that day, and then went on a five-game losing streak from which their confidence is only now beginning to recover.
“We had a great pre-season. We entered a couple of tournaments, and won the Pats CY tournament. We were looking good.
“In the first game we went 2-0 up against Glenville and you’re thinking ‘this is great’. Then all of a sudden we hit the skids, and the skids affected us for about two or three months.”
It hasn’t all been bad for TEK – the first game back in January sees them travel to Tullamore Town for a last 16 tie and are also still in the Noel Ryan Cup.
They will likely have to tackle that game without striker Shane Barnes, who is set to return for a second stint in the League of Ireland, but Flynn hopes to add a couple of players.
“For the first time since I’ve been at TEK, we’re still in two cup competitions after Christmas. It’s not all doom and gloom. It’s been a tough few months but we’re getting there.”