Brilliant Bohs put saints to the sword
Wexford Bohs 4 St. Leonards 1
Three goals in a five-minute first-half spell helped Wexford Bohemians silence league leaders St. Leonards and drove them on to three crucial points from this exciting Divison 1 clash on a heavy and almost unplayable Drinagh pitch on Sunday.
The lighter and fast-moving Bohs settled better in the tough underfoot conditions, with the goalmouths sodden with underlying water.
This made life difficult for the respective 'keepers as balls into the area became something of a nightmare, with the Leonards back four in particular troubled by the early cross into the danger zone.
St. Leonards have been having a particularly impressive season as they sit prettily at the top of the table, but they received a real jolt in this game.
The home side claimed most of the possession, but more importantly utilised the ball well, with their accurate short passing game being particularly impressive and useful given the conditions.
Their fleetness of foot saw them create the space and it was from this excellent open play that they struck for their four goals.
The leaders, in contrast, were unable to settle in the conditions, being much slower to the ball, while they were caught far too often in possession, which in turn led to their back four coming under almost incessant pressure.
In truth, once they conceded that opening goal it was difficult to see a way back as they became totally bogged down on the heavy pitch.
Leonards did have a chance of taking the lead after nine minutes, but while Seán Ryan managed to get in a good header from a Martin Doyle cross, he was unable to keep it on target with the ball flying to the wrong side of the right-hand post.
Bohs were gradually playing their way into the game, with Jack Murphy and Seán Pailing looking dangerous up front, while Todd Hynes with his forays down the flank and accurate crosses was beginning to find gaps in the visiting back four.
So it was no surprise when they took a 25th-minute lead. Colin Walsh made ground down the right, getting over an excellent cross to his near post which was met by the head of Seán Pailing, and he directed his header high into the roof of the net past a helpless Micheál Ryan in the visiting goal.
That was the start of a Bohs period of dominance as they ripped the visitors apart with some excellent attacking football. Three minutes later, Jack Murphy showed superb control as he cut inside the area before drilling a superb low left-footed shot to the corner of the net, making it 2-0 after 28 minutes.
One minute later it was 3-0, this time Murphy getting his head to a Paddy Harnett cross to power home superbly at the near post, leaving the league leaders stunned.
Bohs continued to control as Leonards struggled in midfield and up front, and could have added to their tally as both Pailing and Murphy went close with further efforts, but they were no doubt happy with their 3-0 interval lead.
Bohs were not content to sit on their advantage, with Leonards facing further pressure on the re-start.
The home side increased their lead within four minutes when Pailing finished from just inside the area, leaving it 4-0 with the Bohs dominance set to continue.
At times Leonards built some promising attacks, with Seán Ryan and Kevin O'Grady having efforts saved by 'keeper Wayne Carty.
As the half progressed both sets of players were beginning to tire in the heavy conditions, but Leonards did manage to pull a goal back two minutes from the end through a fine Donal Kiely shot from outside the area. Bohs collected the three points, though, to keep their promotion hopes very much alive.
Wexford Bohs: Wayne Carty, Paddy Harnett, David Lyttleton, Roy Doyle, Todd Hynes, Ryan Byrne, Colin Walsh, Marty O'Connor, Jason Swords, Seán Pailing, Jack Murphy. Subs. - Aaron Goodison, Aaron Donovan, Cian Whelan, Darin Murphy, Dermot Flood, Colm O'Dowda.
St. Leonards: Micheál Ryan, James Redmond, James Cooney, Ken Cahill, Jack Burford, Donal Kiely, Martin Fitzharris, Martin Doyle, Kevin O'Grady, Seán Ryan, Eoin Ryan. Subs. - Niall Molloy, Liam Dillon, Nicky Cahill.
Referee: Nicky Boland.