Students end Youths' streak
Visitors blitzed in Belfield
It didn't work out for Wexford Youths just how manager Shane Keegan drew it up in the UCD Bowl in the SSE Airtricity League Division 1 on Friday.
UCD 4 Wexford Youths 1
Youths went into the game knowing victory would, for 24 hours at least, put them top of the table for the first time this season, ahead of current leaders Finn Harps.
UCD are no mugs and they proved it. Relegated from the Premier Division last year, the students blitzed the visitors with searing pace on the counter-attack and left a shredded rearguard gasping for air.
There's little doubt about the fact that UCD will be right there with Youths and Harps battling for promotion. They are a slick footballing side capable of beating anyone in the division, especially a team playing as open as Wexford were in the second period.
The first-half was a much tighter affair, one of those games that just needed a goal to liven it up. The pattern of the match might have been different had Robbie Benson's charge down of Ryan Delaney's clearance dipped under rather than skimmed over the crossbar in the fourth minute.
It didn't and the game settled into a bit of a stalemate until the hosts opened the scoring in the 22nd minute when Benson swung in a left wing free-kick. It wasn't dealt with in the Youths penalty area and Tomás Boyle latched onto the loose ball and slammed it past Graham Doyle.
Wexford came into the game more as the half wore on and went close to an equaliser when Andy Mulligan got a lucky break in midfield, drove at the UCD defence and shot narrowly wide with Niall Corbet well beaten.
Mulligan saw a shot deflected wide with six minutes of the half remaining and his side went close again when Dermody got to the byline and crossed for Danny Furlong, but his header deflected behind off Mark Langtry.
Jamie Doyle forced Graham Doyle into a smart low stop 18 seconds after the re-start but Youths dominated the next 15 minutes and went close a couple of times before getting a deserved equaliser.
Aidan Keenan really should have scored in the 53rd minute when Jonny Bonner's cross landed at his feet three yards out but he somehow shot wide. The rangy attacker made up for the miss six minutes later when he rose above his own man, Craig Wall, to nod Furlong's cross past Corbet.
From that moment on everything went wrong for Youths as UCD countered at will. The home side took the lead again in the 65th minute when Ryan Swan tormented Conor Whittle on the left wing and squared for Dylan Watts to fire past Doyle.
The lead was doubled when Jamie Doyle crossed from the left and Jimmy Dermody poked into his own net, and the fourth followed from Swan after a clever Robbie Benson pass to end a poor night for Wexford Youths.
Keegan's side face Athlone Town at home this Friday at 8pm and will hope to bounce back with three points.
Wexford Youths: Graham Doyle (capt.); Conor Whittle, Gary Delaney, Lee Grace, Jimmy Dermody; Andy Mulligan, Craig Wall; Eric Molloy, Jonny Bonner, Aidan Keenan; Danny Furlong. Subs. - Peter Higgins for Grace (85), Philip Drohan for Whittle (85), Stephen Last for Dermody (85). Not used: Craig McCabe, Craig Comerford, Conor English, Daniel Niekis.
UCD: Niall Corbet; Mark Langtry, Mick Leahy, Tomás Boyle, Ryan McLoughlin; Jack Watson, Robbie Benson (capt.); Samir Belhout, Dylan Watts, Jamie Doyle; Ryan Swan. Subs. - Seán Coyne for McLoughlin (82), Eoin Kirwan for Swan (84), Adam Harney for Watts (90+1). Not used: Conor Mackey, Ian Ryan.
Referee: Adriano Reale.