Molloy strikes on the double
ERIC MOLLOY grabbed the headlines as Wexford Youths went into the mid-season break in third place in Division 1 as the result of this tremendous victory over promotion-chasing Mervue United at Ferrycarrig Park on Friday last.
Molloy, who has been in goal-scoring form recently playing at midfield, maintained his run with two excellent strikes, one in each half, as the home side rebounded from their away defeat to league leaders Longford Town the previous week.
It was by far the Youths' best display of the season. With young Gary Delaney dominant at the back, they never allowed the visitors a direct shot on goal, while Molloy and the Nolan twins controlled midfield. Up front Aidan Keenan was always dangerous while substitute Tom Elmes created havoc on his introduction and was somewhat unlucky not to have had a brace of goals in the closing 15 minutes as he tormented the visitors' back four.
Wexford Youths were seeking consistency to leapfrog up the table and they got the ideal start, taking a ninth-minute lead. After a Dean Broaders shot had been beaten away by 'keeper Conor Gleeson, in the flurry of play that followed Eric Molloy drilled a low shot to the bottom right-hand corner of the net for a start that rocked the visitors.
Wexford Youths were making most of their midfield control as they pegged the visitors back on defence.
Playing quality, possession football, the home side went on to create a couple of further chances with Dean Broaders clipping an effort just wide, while Daryl Power also came close from ten metres as his shot drifted just outside the right-hand post.
Mervue United struggled to get back into the game with their best chance falling to Ryan Manning five minutes before the break, but he shot over the top from in front of goal to leave it 1-0 at the interval.
The westerners hit back on the resumption with some promising attacks. They had a chance of equalising in the 63rd minute after a home defender had been penalised for handball inside the area. Garry Curran stepped up to the resulting penalty kick, but his shot to the right was excellently beaten away to safety by diving 'keeper Graham Doyle, who managed to keep his goal intact.
At the opposite end substitute Tom Elmes, not long on the pitch, went on a fine run through the defence but sent a low shot just wide, with the advancing 'keeper well beaten. Elmes continued to trouble the visitors' back four and saw a further effort fly across the face of the goal but inches to the wrong side of the right-hand post.
Mervue pressed for an equaliser but were unable to break down the home side's back four, with Molloy clinching the points with a stinging 30-metre shot three minutes into additional time, capping a tremendous display from the midfielder.
As the Youths go into the mid-season break they will be delighted to have leap-frogged into third spot, just a point behind second-placed Athlone Town, and seven adrift of leaders Longford Town. On the evidence of this latest display they have much to look forward to once the league resumes in two weeks' time.
Wexford Youths: Graham Doyle, Craig McCabe, Gary Delaney, C.J. Browne, Jimmy Dermody, Brian Nolan, Eric Molloy, Shane Nolan, Daryl Power (Tom Elmes, 55), Aidan Keenan, Dean Broaders (Graham Delaney, 55).
Mervue United: Conor Gleeson, Marc Ludden, Martin Conneely, Paul Sinnott, Stephen Walshe, Gary Curran (Barry O'Mahoney, 75), Noel Varley, Gary Shanahan (Joe Woods, 85), Jason Molloy, Tom King, Ryan Manning.
Referee: Robert Harvey.