Waterford on song in derby
Waterford F.C.2 Wexford F.C.0
Wexford plunged to an uninspiring defeat against unbeaten south-coast rivals Waterford in their SSE Airtricity League Under-17 Southern Elite League encounter in Ferrycarrig Park.
Waterford, who were unbeaten in eight, registering four wins and four draws and sitting comfortably in second place in the table, were good value for money and had the game won well before the final whistle sounded.
The blues had the better of early proceedings and were nearly ahead inside the opening minute, with Colm Whelan's corner blasted over by defender Adam Conway at the back post.
While the Munster side dominated the ball in the 15 minutes after this early scare, they were struggling to make meaningful inroads past the Wexford back line. Regix Medika sailing a header well over the bar was the closest Waterford came to a breakthrough.
However, with the Ferrycarrig side dropping deeper and deeper, Waterford's opportunities became more dangerous as their midfield five began to overpower Wexford's 4-4-2.
Seán Treacy sent a curling effort inches wide of the far post and Whelan again went close in the 23rd minute. Wexford were defending deep and living dangerously.
Throughout this Wexford had very few chances of their own as, forced into counter-attacking football by Waterford's possession, their attackers were living off scraps.
The travelling side deserved their lead when it came, albeit in a very controversial manner. Medika's whipped cross was adjudged to have hit a Wexford arm before being collected by goalkeeper Michael Walsh. Brian Fenlon pointed to the spot, and Jack Larkin sent Walsh the wrong way.
With Wexford reeling, it was very nearly two moments later, Whelan heading onto the post from Treacy's cross.
Darragh Power and Jack O'Donnell spurned two more good opportunities while Wexford could only manage hopeful shots from distance, with Adham Masood and Caellum Travers-Devlin failing to trouble the 'keeper.
The second-half was significantly quieter in terms of action, this due in no small part to Waterford's second goal, effectively ending the contest. It came just four minutes after the re-start and was testament to the away side's intelligent passing football.
Lee Costello found Larkin lurking between the lines, and he turned and threaded a well-weighted pass through to Waterford frontman Whelan who finished coolly past the advancing Walsh.
Wexford, who had begun the second period slightly more positively, popping the ball around in midfield, now faced an even greater uphill task.
Despite enjoying more of the ball as the game opened up, they lacked the creativity to open up Waterford's three-man defence. The home side's afternoon was summed up when Travers-Devlin was booked for diving after an impressive run into the penalty area.
The blues, who notably took their foot off the pedal after the second, created few real chances as the game ticked down. Treacy optimistically attempted to lob Walsh from 45 yards while the powerful creator Medika smashed a volley well wide of the near post.
Wexford's defeat left them eight points adrift of their rivals Waterford and sees them drop to sixth in the Southern Elite Division.
Wexford: Michael Walsh; Jack Gallagher, Connor Signorelli, Nathan O'Connor, Reece Murphy; Oscar Smith, Craig O'Reilly, Caellum Travers-Devlin, Jason Daly, Adham Masood, Liam Berry. Subs. - Patrick Barron for O'Connor (17), Brandon Deady for Daly (53), Ciarán Byrne for Smith (65), Stephan Kearns for Signorelli (69), also James Esser, Kian Kerr, Colm Feeney.
Waterford: Noel Heffernan; Kallum Broaders, Adam Conway, Lee Costello; Dean Beresford, Jack O'Donnell, Jack Larkin, Darragh Power, Seán Treacy; Colm Whelan, Regix Medika. Subs. - Greg Waters for Power (62), Andrew Farrell for O'Donnell (70), Torik Adegao for Whelan (70), also Brendan Kirwan.
Referee: Brian Fenlon (Wexford).