TWO goals in as many minutes in this top of the table clash at a windswept and rain-lashed Crawford’s Lane saw Tummery Athletic dramatically snatch victory from the jaws of defeat to put themselves in a strong position to go on and win a first ever Mercer League title.
Trailing 2-1 with just six minutes remaining a dangerous left-sided cross by Ronan McNabb was turned into the net by either the outstretched leg of unfortunate Town defender Ryan McCluskey or the shin of Athletic substitute Niall Donnelly as both challenged for the ball.
That equaliser gave the Dromore side much-needed oxygen and less than two minutes later the home faithful were in dreamland when a long kick out by their keeper Tim Harney, wind-assisted by Storm Ciara, had opposite number Gary Doherty flapping and the ball bounced into the roof of the Town net.
That incredible goal leaves Tummery very much in control of their own destiny while at the same time blowing the visitors’ challenge slightly off course.
Athletic remain four points ahead of defending champions Enniskillen Rangers and with a game in hand and now 11 clear of Rory Judge’s team having played two games more.
As expected the most influential player in this eagerly-awaited contest was Storm Ciara who assisted Town in establishing an early two-goal advantage.
On 21 minutes the visitors forged ahead when following a quick break on the left Darren Freemen was on hand to head home amid Tummery claims of offside.
Up to this point Athletic had offered little in the final third and by the half hour mark Town had doubled their tally. The excellent Freeman waltzed in from the right, past no fewer than three defenders, before pulling the ball back for Frank Wallace to apply the finish.
But crucially Ruairi Sludden latched onto a ball over the top and produced a tidy finish to throw his team a lifeline going into the break.
Turning around to face the elements a one-goal advantage looked a little on the light side for Town, particularly when they re-emerged without the ever dangerous Freeman.
Due to the conditions Rory Judge’s team had little option but to defend in numbers and attempt to hit their opponents on the counter attack.
That strategy appeared to be working a treat, that was until Tummery’s late, late show turned the game on its head.
FULL REPORT AND PICTURES IN TODAY’S TYRONE HERALD