Late Clooney winner secures 2-1 win for Abbey Hey

Abbey Hey move up to 2nd in the NWCFL 1st Division South courtesy of a 96th minute winner substitute Rhys Clooney in a wet and windy game at the Abbey Stadium.

The home side broke the deadlock in only the fifth minute when Dylan Fitzgerald, turned on the edge of the area before firing a fierce effort into the top left corner, scoring his 12th of the season in the process.

Rocester striker Jaiden Hunter nearly responded for his side 15 minutes later, but he was beaten by goalkeeper in a 1v1, after the Abbey shot-stopper had to come out off his line to deal with the danger.

Visiting goalkeeper Charlie Wood was kept very busy in the first half, as he denied efforts from Tom Murray and Fitzgerald, who both couldn’t double the lead for the Abbey.

With just a couple of minutes to go before halftime, the visitors pulled a goal back and levelled the game against the run of play. Heywood brought down Hunter after the striker found himself clear through on goal and opposition captain Cavan Holford stepped up to send Heywood the wrong way with the spot-kick. .

The second half saw both sides struggle to get the breakthrough however, with the main notable chance for the Staffordshire based side coming through a one on one with Hunter against Heywood. The Abbey keeper again had to react well after rushing out from his line, before beating the Rocester strike to the ball.

Abbey had chances of their own also, with Wood being caught off of his line, Abbey Hey top scorer Jordan Lazenbury could not manage to capitalise on an open goal as he fired his effort from long-range high and wide of the goal.

The winner came for the home side in the sixth minute of second half injury time, as Clooney received the ball in the penalty area by Lazenbury, before turning and firing a low effort into the bottom-right corner to send the home fans into jubilation at the final whistle.

During the celebrations, captain Aaron Fleming was sent off for a second bookable offence, but the home side ensured they would secure three points after falling to defeat in similar fashion at Stafford Town last weekend.

Next on the road for Abbey is a trip to Cammell Laird on Tuesday evening, where they will be looking to get a second win on the bounce against a side who breezed past New Mills 3-1 yesterday afternoon.

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