Delaney wins it for Youths
Keegan's charges keep the pressure on Finn Harps
Manager Shane Keegan reckons that his Wexford Youths side can go that extra few steps in their promotion push after a Gary Delaney 34th-minute goal gave his side all three points over a battling Cobh Ramblers outfit in this Airtricity League Division 1 clash at rain-lashed Ferrycarrig Park on Friday.
Wexford Youths 1 Cobh Ramblers 0
Cobh manager Stephen Henderson may have felt his side could have had a penalty in the dying minutes, but despite appeals for a handball the referee waved play on and with it went their last chance of salvaging a point on a difficult night for football.
Defensively, Cobh Ramblers were outstanding with the central pairing of Brendan Frahill and Gavin Murphy particularly excellent, while 'keeper David Browne made two fine saves during a period of intense second-half pressure.
Under new manager Henderson they look a side in for the long haul as they try to bring a pattern to their game, but with improvement up front there is no reason why they will not make their presence felt in the second half of the campaign.
With Wexford Youths having scored eleven goals in their previous two games, Cobh knew they needed to be tight at the back, and while they had some difficult passages they still succeeded in keeping the home side's front players, Danny Furlong and Aidan Keenan, under control for the most part.
Still, the double attacking edge of the duo did manage to test 'keeper Browne with a couple of fine efforts.
Wexford Youths with the three points manage to keep the pressure on league leaders Finn Harps. With a difficult game away to UCD on Friday, the Youths knew it was vital they took the points from this home game.
Centre-back Delaney delivered the crucial score, and they played some quality football in difficult conditions. However, credit must be given to the home club for the excellent condition of the playing surface despite constant heavy rain throughout the day.
During the opening 20 minutes Cobh relied mainly on teasing out the home side as they were reliant on quick counter-attacks, with both Ryan Goldsmith and John Creamer looking particularly dangerous breaking quickly out of midfield.
The Youths were enjoying more of the possession but still Cobh came close to opening the scoring after nine minutes when Creamer raced on to a long ball, but advancing 'keeper Graham Doyle managed to get his outstretched legs in the way of the shot which was eventually cleared to safety.
After 21 minutes Gary Delaney headed over a Conor Whittle free kick, while two minutes later Brendan Frahill got back to clear an Aidan Keenan effort off the line for what turned out to be a fruitless corner kick.
After a timely Kevin Mulcahy tackle had denied Danny Furlong as he was about to pull the trigger, Cobh launched a quick counter-attack that saw a Ryan Goldsmith effort safely held by 'keeper Doyle.
The breakthrough arrived in the 34th minute. Andy Mulligan lofted a free-kick to the right post that was headed down by Danny Furlong for the lurking Gary Delaney who right-footed low to the bottom corner of the net, giving the home side a deserved 1-0 lead.
Cobh's Goldsmith was stretching the Youths' back four with some fine runs down the left but his accurate crosses failed to produce a goal.
Cobh Ramblers knew they had to chase the game on the resumption. They upped the tempo of their play through the opening passages but came up against a solid Youths back four in which Delaney and Lee Grace were both outstanding.
Cobh 'keeper Browne pulled off an excellent save from Craig Wall, while at the opposite end a fine 62nd-minute shot from Goldsmith brought a fine save out of Doyle.
The pace of the game had picked up considerably with both sides now playing open attacking football.
While chances for both sides were limited, it still took a superb save from Butler to deny Furlong from just inside the box, managing to tip the ball over the top for a corner kick.
However, the danger had not been averted as with the corner kick only half cleared, Craig Wall drilled a superb shot off the post, all this after 66 minutes.
Cobh sought out an equaliser in the closing ten minutes. On 90 minutes it took a superb Doyle stop to deny Goldsmith, while the visitors had claims for a handball as the rebound was drilled across the goal before eventually being cleared to safety.
The additional five minutes failed to produce an equaliser despite Cobh laying siege to the home side's goal in a very tense finish.
The Youths also have a home game in the FAI Cup to look forward to as they have been pitted against Cork City.
Wexford Youths: Graham Doyle, Conor Whittle, Gary Delaney, James Dermody, Lee Grace, Craig McCabe (Eric Molloy, 63), Andy Mulligan, Craig Wall, Danny Furlong, Peter Higgins, Aidan Keenan. Subs. not used: Stephen Last, Craig Comerford, Jonny Bonner, Philip Drohan, Conor English, Danny Neikis.
Cobh Ramblers: David Browne, Adam O'Sullivan, Brendan Frahill, Gavin Murphy, Kevin Mulcahy, Graham McCarty (Rys Waters, 73), Stephen Kenny, Shane O'Connor, Jon Creamer (Ron Stanton, 85), Darren Murphy (Chris McCarthy, 60), Ryan Goldsmith. Subs. not used: Audie Dunlea, Dave Curran, Daniel Barry, Steve Hickey.
Referee: Robert Hennessy.