Wednesday 23 October 2019

Home side no match for Limerick

BRENDAN FURLONG At Ferrycarrig Park

RORY GAFFNEY'S 71st minute goal helped Limerick FC leapfrog over Wexford Youths into second spot after this Division 1 clash they dominated at Ferrycarrig Park on Friday night last.

For Wexford Youths this was a disappointing display before their biggest crowd of the season. Their inability to break even in the midfield battle led to them having to struggle for quality possession, leaving the front players, Danny Furlong and Tom Elmes isolated.

Both front players were forced to live off scraps of possession with the result their threats on the visitors goal were isolated. In fact they were forced to work deep in search of the ball, but it was their ability to work together as a pairing, that led to them create a couple of good chances, but which they just failed to finish.

Certainly there was a real gulf between the sides, but still given their impressive start to the campaign, Wexford Youths can bounce back, and maintain their challenge in the top three. The loss of centreback C.J. Browne with a hamstring injury after just thirty-three minutes was a huge blow. Having passed a late fitness test, Browne was a commanding presence in front of goal, but it was evident from an early stage that he was struggling, and his enforced withdrawal, was a huge blow.

But credit to the Wexford Youths back four, they defended with confidence and composure, while the single goal was a well struck effort through a crowded goalmouth. Keeper Graham Doyle handled superbly through the ninety minutes plucking high crosses from the air, while he also affected a couple of topclass saves to deny the visitors who always looked dangerous when moving forward.

Limerick showed why they are divisional favourites as they dominated the opening forty-five minutes but surprisingly they failed to break down the home defence. Dominant in midfield where Joey Gamble and Steve Bradley controlled matters they were on the offensive from the opening minutes. After fifteen minutes they came close to taking the lead with home keeper Graham Doyle pulling off an excellent save from a Denis Behan downward hearder.

With the homeside over-run in midfield it was Limerick who had matters all their own way. It took a superb C.J. Browne tackle on twenty-three minutes to deny Behan in front of goal, while twelve minutes later, Corie Treacy pulled his shot over the bar when he should have scored. The homeside had their first chance on thirty-nine minutes but Danny Furlong mishit his shot from close in with keeper David Ryan not troubled, while at the opposite end Sean Brosnan blazed over the top with a great opportunity leaving in 0-0 at the interval.

As the second half progressed the Limerick dominance continued but they had to wait until the 71st minute to open their account when Rory Gaffney drilled a low shot through a crowded goalmouth, although minutes earler Tom Elmes came close to breaking the deadlock for the homeside but his rising shot went just over the top.

Having fallen behind, Wexford Youths now began to show more of an attacking instinct, as they laid siege to the visitors goal during the closing ten minutes. Having shown the opposition far too much respect up to then, the Youths suddenly sprang to life, playing the attacking football they had shown in their earlier games.

It was during this spell that both Elmes and Furlong showed they had the skill and ability to trouble the visitors back four, as both had efforts just wide. Had they received the same support earlier in the game the result could have been different.

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