Youths well on top in derby drubbing
LEADERS Wexford Youths delighted their largest crowd of the season by handing a real drubbing to Roddy Collins' Waterford United in this one-sided SSE Airtricity Division 1 game played at Ferrycarrig Park on Friday night.
Top of the table for the very first time going into this game, Wexford Youths seemed determined to maintain their progress, particularly with second-placed Finn Harps also having the advantage of a home game against lowly Cabinteely.
And the night started on a bright note when goalkeeper and captain Graham Doyle received a presentation from manager Shane Keegan before kick-off to mark his one hundredth consecutive league appearance for the club.
Quick on the break, not surprisingly the Youths took the lead after eight minutes having dominated the opening passages of play with a positive start.
Following some good outfield play, Craig Wall sent over a fine centre that broke into the path of the lurking Danny Furlong who side-footed the ball low past advancing 'keeper Robert Birdsall from ten metres, making it 1-0.
A very depleted visiting side began to come more into the game, with Graham Doyle tipping a rising shot over for a fruitless corner, while on 28 minutes Shane Dineen headed an Anthony McAlavey free-kick just over the top.
There were no signs of the Youths letting up though. New signing John Peare, from local Junior club Moyne Rangers, ran on to a through ball to lob the advancing 'keeper after 34 minutes with a brilliant finish, having been denied at an earlier juncture by the number one. It was the ideal way to mark his home debut.
And they made it 3-0 two minutes later, with Danny Furlong scoring a penalty after Conor English had been taken down as he cut in on goal, sending Robert Birdsall the wrong way from the spot.
It needed a spirited challenge from Shane Dineen to deny English before the break, but Waterford were staring at inevitable defeat at the break. Incidentally, they were captained on the night by local Wexford lad Ethan Boyle, while he was joined on the team by Campile's Mikie Rowe.
Despite sitting prettily, the Youths were not content to sit on their lead as within 30 seconds of the re-start Jimmy Dermody left-footed home a Danny Furlong through ball past a helpless Robert Birdsall in the visitng goal to make it 4-0.
Waterford forced their first second-half corner after 68 minutes but the home back four capably dealt with the kick, while in a quick counter-attack Danny Furlong was denied his hat-trick when 'keeper Birdsall did well to beat away his right-footed shot.
The goalscoring ace had scuffed a shot over the bar early in the second-half too after a neat through ball from John Peare.
Home 'keeper Graham Doyle saved well from McAlavey but there were no signs of a Waterford recovery as the home side continued to dominate.
Furlong forced another fine stop out of Birdsall who was kept busy by a lively Youths front pair of the Rosslare Strand man and Conor English.
Before the end another local lad, Blackwater's Conor Sutton, made his full Senior debut for the club, while Chris Kenny marked his return after signing from Shamrock Rovers with a solid outing at midfield.
It meant that eight Wexford players in all lined out on the night and this fact, along with the presence of a vocal visiting Waterford support and their Youths counterparts, led to the best crowd and atmosphere at the venue for quite some time.
With Finn Harps beating Cabinteely 1-0, it leaves the Youths holding on to their two-point lead on top of the table.
Next up is a trip to face Cobh Ramblers this Saturday at 7.45 p.m. And while ordinarily Youths would be fancied to succeed, they travel to Cork against the backdrop of Ramblers recording a 4-1 victory away to Athlone Town last weekend.
Wexford Youths: Graham Doyle, Craig McCabe, Gary Delaney, Ryan Delaney, Jimmy Dermody, Lee Grace (David Doyle, 76), Chris Kenny (Paul Brennan, 76), Craig Wall (Conor Sutton, 88), John Peare, Danny Furlong, Conor English.
Waterford United: Robert Birdsall, Dean Reidy, Shane Dineen, Shane Mackey, Shaun Corcoran, Ethan Boyle, Bobby Donoghue, Glen Hawe, Anthony McAlavey, Mikie Rowe, Thomas Croke.
Referee: Simon Rogers.
DIVISION 1 TABLE