Clancy goal enough to beat uninspired Youths
WEXFORD YOUTHS 0 MONAGHAN UTD 1
A BARRY Clancy goal after seven minutes was enough to see off an uninspiring Wexford Youths side in the Airtricity League Division 1 at Ferrycarrig Park on Sunday afternoon last. It will be the manner of the visitors' goal that will disappoint Youths manager Noel O'Connor as it was no more than a long punt by goalkeeper Gabriel Sava that was flicked on by Karl Bermingham into the path of Clancy who calmly slotted past the advancing Packie Holden.
It wasn't an isolated incident as the home side struggled to deal with the aerial ability and physicality of Bermingham, particularly before the introduction of David Breen late in the first-half.
Breen had started on the bench as he continues his recovery from injury while hitman Gary Sheahan returned to the starting line-up after missing the victory over Mervue as he was participating in a second trial at English Coca Cola League One side, Exeter City.
And it was Sheahan who made a bright start; first he set up Danny Furlong who scuffed his attempt from 12 yards and then he rounded goalkeeper Sava but failed to find the empty net with his left-footed shot from a tight angle on the left.
Youths continued to control the early exchanges with Jimmy Keohane heading onto the roof of the net after great work on the wing by Dean Broaders. The goal didn't immediately change the game as Sheahan had another opportunity but he saw his goalbound effort blocked by an outstretched foot.
As the opening quarter hour came to a close, Monaghan took control and really should have added to their lead. Seán Brennan's header at goal was deflected behind for a corner and from the resulting centre the same man skied an effort from Alan Byrne's flick down.
Holden parried a Philip Hughes effort moments later before Byrne glanced a header narrowly wide.
The relentless pressure continued as Hughes got behind the Youths defence again from a Byrne flick-on but blasted over the onrushing Holden and over the bar.
Bermingham missed again when he connected well with a Brennan free, and stopper Holden once more saved well from a powerfully-struck Clancy shot as Youths clung to the minimum deficit at the break.
The second-half never lived up to the excitement of the first as a combination of David Breen, the Youths midfield picking up most of the runs from deep and a more cautious approach by the visitors meant there were very few openings.
Sheahan's weak free was easily blocked in the 57th minute while Keohane saw his placed ball attempt from a similar position nine minutes later well held by Sava. Monaghan's only chance of the half was wasted by Philip Donnelly when he looped an effort, from Bermingham's flick-on, over the crossbar.
The visitors remained comfortable as Keohane lashed high over the bar from long range with 15 minutes to go and Youths' last chance fell to Anthony Wolfe when he got on the end of a Sheahan free five minutes later from the left, but his glancing header also carried too much elevation.