Delaney goal seals win for Wexford Youths
Manager Shane Keegan reckons that his Wexford Youths can go that extra few steps in their promotion push after a Gary Delaney thirty-second minute goal gave his side all three points over a battling Cobh Ramblers outfit in this Division 1 Airtricity League clash at rain lashed Ferrycarrig Park last night.
Wexford Youths 1 Cobn Ramblers 0
Cobh Manager Stephen Henderson may have felt his side could have had a penalty in the dying minutes, but despite appeals for a hand ball the referee waved play on and with it their last chance of salvaging a point from what was a difficult night for football.
Defensively, Cobh Ramblers were outstanding with the central pairing of Brendan Frahill and Gavin Murphy been particularly excellent, while keeper David Browne affected two excellent saves during a period of intense second half pressure. Under new manager Henderson they look a side in for the long haul as they try and bring a pattern to their game but with improvement up front there is no reason why they will not make their presence felt in the second half of the campaign.
With Wexford Youths having scored 11 goals in their last two games, Cobh knew they needed to be tight at the back, and while they had some difficult passaged they still succeeded in keeping the homesides front players, Danny Furlong and Aidan Keenan under control for the most part, although the double attacking edge of the duo still managed to test keeper Browne with a couple of fine efforts.
Wexford Youths with the three points manage to keep the pressure on league leaders Finn Harps. With a difficult game away to UCD next week, the Youths knew it was vital they took the points from this home game. While it was centre-back Delaney who delivered the crucial score they played some quality football in difficult conditions. However credit must be given to the home club for the excellent condition of the playing surface despite constant heavy rain throughout the day.
During the opening twenty minutes Cobh relied mainly on teasing out the homeside as they were reliant on quick counter attacks with both Ryan Goldsmith and John Creamer looking particularly dangerous breaking quickly out of midfield. It was the homeside who were enjoying more of the possession but still it was Cobh who came close to opening the scoring after nine minutes when Creamer raced on to a long ball but advancing keeper Graham Doyle managed to get his outstretched legs in the way of the shot which was eventually cleared to safety.
After twenty-one minute Gary Delaney headed over a Conor Whittle freekick, while two minutes later it was Brendan Frahill who got back to clear an Aidan Keenan effort off the line for what turned out a fruitless corner kick. After a timely Kevin Mulcahy tackled had denied Danny Furlong as he was about to pull the trigger, Cobh launched a quick counter attack that saw a Ryan Goldsmith effort safely held by keeper Doyle.
The breakthrough arrived in the thirty-fourth minute. Andy Mulligan lofted a free-kick to the right post that was headed down by Danny Furlong for the lurking Gary Delaney to right foot low to the bottom corner of the net giving the homeside a deserved 1-0 lead. Cobh's Goldsmith was stretching the homesides back four with some fine runs down the left but his accurate crosses failed to produce a goal leaving the homeside to take a 1-0 lead into the interval.
Cobh Ramblers knew they had to chase the game on the resumption. They upped the tempo of their play through the opening passages of play but came up against a solid Youths back four in which Delaney and Lee Grace were both outstanding.
Cobh keeper Browne pulled off an excellent save from Craig Wall, while at the opposite end a fine sixty-second minute shot from Goldsmith brought a fine save out of Doyle. The pace of the game had picked up considerably with both sides now playing open attacking football.
While chances for both sides were limited it still took a superb save from Butler to deny Furlong from just inside the box, managing to tip the ball over the top for a corner kick. However the danger had not been averted for with the corner kick only half cleared it was Craig Wall who drilled a superb shot off the post all this after sixty-six minutes.
Cobh sought out an equaliser in the closing ten minutes. On ninety minutes it took a superb Doyle stop to deny Goldsmith, while the visitors had claims for a handball as the rebound was drilled across the goal, before eventually been cleared to safety. The additional five minutes failed to produce a goal despite Cobh laying siege to the homesides goal in what was a tense finish.
Wexford Youths: Graham Doyle, Conor Whittle, Gary Delaney, James Dermody, Lee Grace, Craig McCabe (Eric Molloy 63), Andy Mulligan, Craig Wall, Danny Furlong, Peter Higgins, Aidan Keenan. Subs Not Used: Stephen Last, Craig Comerford, Jonny Bonner, Philip Drohan, Conor English, Danny Neikies.
Cobh Ramblers: David Browne, Adam O'Sullivan, Brendan Frahill, Gavin Murphy, Kevin Mulcahy, Graham McCarty (Rys Waters 73), Stephen Kenny, Shane O'connor, Jon Creamer (Ron Stanton 85), Darren Murphy (Chris McCarthy 60), Ryan Goldsmith. Subs Not Used: Audie Dunlea, Dave Curran, Daniel Barry, Steve Hickey.
Referee: Robert Hennessey.