Harps halt bid for first place
Youths beaten by one goal
It may have been themed as a race to the top, but Wexford Youths fell short in their bid to go clear in Division 1 when a second-half goal helped Finn Harps to increase the gap at Ferrycarrig Park on Saturday.
Wexford Youths 0 Finn Harps 1
The game did not make for pretty viewing with neither side managing to impose themselves as there seemed a fear of losing in their approach to the game, and it was always going to take a goal of the lucky variety to separate them.
It was not a performance that was going to bring Wexford Youths the much-desired result.
Over the course of the 90 minutes they did not have a single direct shot on goal, while Finn Harps only fared marginally better.
Given their overall control of most of the 90 minutes though, they deserved their victory which sees them go five points clear at the top.
The display, more than the result, dampened spirits at the home venue, as much was expected following their excellent recent run, and more particularly their fine away victory over Shelbourne the previous weekend.
Graham Doyle was the busiest of the two 'keepers but he showed a safe pair of hands dealing with high crosses, and a couple of half-hit early efforts on goal.
However, with the home side failing to get in even one effort on goal, it was no surprise when they went in 0-0 at the interval.
The pattern of play continued through much of the second-half with the game becoming bogged down in midfield before the deadlock was eventually broken in the 68th minute.
It was from a dead ball situation that the solitary goal arrived. Having forced a corner, Rúairí Keating sent over a kick into the goalmouth and with the defence ball-watching, centre-back Tommy McMonagle stole in to sidefoot the ball to the net and make it 1-0.
Even following this setback the Youths failed to impose themselves on the game, giving their opponents no real cause for worry as the leaders comfortably held out for all three points.
The Youths have a chance to return to winning ways and atone for their opening round defeat when they entertain newcomers Cabinteely this Friday with an 8 p.m. kick-off.
Wexford Youths: Graham Doyle, Conor Whittle, James Dermody, Gary Delaney, Lee Grace, Craig McCabe, Jonny Bonner, Craig Wall, Danny Furlong, Conor English (Andy Mulligan, 54), Eric Molloy. Subs. not used: Peter Higgins, Philip Drohan, Ryan Delaney, David Doyle, Andy Wall, Seamus Houghton.
Finn Harps: Ciarán Gallagher, Matt Crossan, Ciarán Coll, Keith Cowan, Tommy McMonagle, Josh Mailey, Michael Funston (Kevin McHugh, 89), Raymond Foy, Rúairí Keating, Wilfred Tagbo, Gareth Harkin (Regan Donelan, 76). Subs. not used: Brian McGrory, Tommy McCarron, Tony McNamee, Garreth Friel.
Referee: David Keeler (Dublin).