Clinical Celtic too good for Crossabeg
The superior finishing power of Wexford Celtic helped them to collect all three points at the expense of Crossabeg in this Wexford Football League Division 2 clash at Sinnottstown Lane on Sunday morning.
Wexford Celtic 2 Crossabeg 0
The home side always looked the stronger force when moving forward and but for some indecisiveness in front of the posts could have added a further two goals to their eventual final tally. But once they got the breakthrough they went on to control most of the game, with their disciplined approach leading them to all three points.
While Crossabeg enjoyed some quality midfield possession, they were unable to create any worthwhile chances up front, with the result that at no stage did they seriously test home 'keeper Fintan Walsh.
Having dropped two points the previous week, the loss of all three points leaves them down in the bottom half of the table.
The visiting side tried to contain the home team with a solid defensive structure, with two of their midfielders also dropping deep.
This proved quite successful through the opening 15 minutes, as the home side hadn't a single shot on target, being mainly reliant on the long ball forward which was more than capably dealt with.
Celtic's centre-forward, Paul Howlin, covered an amount of ground in trying to fasten on to the long ball, but was generally outnumbered by a packed defence.
After 12 minutes he sent a crisp right-footed shot just off target, while at the opposite end Michael Cogley saw an effort from outside the area rise just over the top.
At this stage onlookers were beginning to wonder where the opening goal was going to come from.
With so many of their long balls having fizzled out into nothing,
Celtic eventually got it right in the 40th minute when a Graham Carty ball through the middle saw centre-forward Paul Howlin race clear to sent a strong right-footed effort to the net.
It was a goal which his effortless running up to this deserved, and it sent his side in with a 1-0 interval lead.
It looked for a long time as if it was going to be the crucial goal. Through the second period Celtic threatened with some neat approach football, but despite the energy in their play, they saw a number of chances go a begging as both Graham Carty and Stephen Healy pulled efforts the wrong side of the post, while Howlin forced a fine save out of Conor Keeling after 52 minutes.
For Crossabeg it was a case of trying to get a couple of long-range efforts on target, but after 67 minutes they came ever so close to equalising when Kenny Kavanagh got his head to a Mark O'Connor corner kick but saw his effort cleared off the line by John McManus to the safety of the sideline.
Both sides were becoming increasingly anxious as the game entered the closing ten minutes, with the respective back fours giving little away in front of goal. And it was substitutes who were to become an important factor in the closing stages.
Nine minutes from the end substitute Seán Hopkins did well to retain control out on the right and his accurate delivery across the face of the goal fell to the feet of fellow replacement Philip Cullen who somehow managed a left-footed strike to the corner of the net despite losing his balance, a goal that secured three valuable points for his side.
Wexford Celtic: Fintan Walsh, David McManus, John McManus, Seán Carmody, John Larkin, David Keane, Stephen Healy, Graham Carty, Paul Howlin, Joe Wilson, Jessy Kells. Subs. - Philip Cullen, Brendan Furlong, Seán Hopkins.
Crossabeg: Conor Keeling, Brian Kelly, Ben Turner, Mark Crosbie, Rory Curran, Michael Cogley, Graham Kelly, Eric Coughlan, Eamonn Kelly, Kenny Kavanagh, Mark O'Connor. Subs. - James Carley, Conor Maddock, Donncadha Redmond, Niall Kelly.
Referee: Darren Ennis.