United’s tactical formation is catalyst for stunning win


From this week's Galway City Tribune

From this week's Galway City Tribune

United’s tactical formation is catalyst for stunning win United’s tactical formation is catalyst for stunning win

Dundalk 0

Galway United 2

THIS was as enjoyable as it was surprising, and that’s not to say it wasn’t thoroughly deserved: if anything, it could have been an even more emphatic win for the visitors, who showed they very much belong in the top-flight with a brilliantly-managed game plan that tactically flummoxed their hosts.

Over in Kennedy’s pub, just on the other side of the railway tracks about a three-minute walk from the ground, Dundalk and United fans mingled happily before the game. The home fans mentioned still being haunted by United’s 4-0 win in the FAI Cup clash between the sides last season, but there was a tentative air of confidence, especially having impressed in a 1-1 draw away to Shamrock Rovers the previous weekend.

The United fans had travelled more in hope than expectation, and arra, sure that cup game was a freak result anyway and it is different playing a cup game on your own patch as opposed to travelling to a ground where you hadn’t won in 20 years.

When the team sheets were announced it didn’t do much to change the tone in the away end: United’s starting XI featured a goalkeeper, four defenders and six midfielders. No striker.

‘A false nine’, someone suggested. ‘No feckin’ nine at all, false or otherwise’, was the reply. It looked like United were setting-up for a defensive smother, damage limitation, not really parking the bus, but not exactly driving it either. Boy were we wrong.

Rather than a blanket defence, United went with two up front, David Hurley and Karl O’Sullivan deployed as frontmen in a 4-4-2 formation, and by God did it work. United scored twice, hit the woodwork on two other times, also hit the side-netting, and O’Sullivan was twice played clean through on goal, but was unable to capitalise on either occasion. It could have been an utter rout.

Pictured: Karl O’Sullivan twice went close to scoring for Galway United from one-on-one situations, and also flashed another effort across goal.

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