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Sunday 21 September 2014

Youths bounce back with impressive win

BRENDAN FURLONG In Ferrycarrig Park

Published 15/05/2012 | 10:58

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WEXFORD YOUTHS are beginning to play to their potential as they took the all-important three points at the expense of Finn Harps in this Airtricity League Division 1 game played at Ferrycarrig Park on Friday last.

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Just when it looked as if their promising start was about to unravel, Wexford Youths put recent defeats to Waterford United and Longford Town behind them as they totally controlled this game, and such was their dominance that they should not have had to wait until the closing ten minutes to secure the points.

Having lost by just one goal away to leaders Longford Town seven days earlier, it was important for the Youths to bounce back. This they did playing an entertaining brand of attacking football, which at the end helped them to leapfrog back into third spot in the league, leaving them with so much to play for as the campaign really begins to up the tempo.

Finn Harps showed such indiscipline, being reduced to nine players during the course of the game. Their first dismissal came as early as the seventh minute, when striker Kevin Mchugh was red-carded for a high tackle on home centreback C.J. Browne. The Youths controlled the game, playing the superior brand of football, and such was their composure that there's no doubt they would still have taken the three points on offer even had the visitors not been numerically reduced.

There was some concern for the home fans as, despite their side's control, they were unable to break the deadlock. After 13 minutes Danny Furlong had a header tipped over for a fruitless corner, while Aidan Keenan, after creating so much space, delayed his shot that was eventually blocked away to safety.

The visitors had to wait until the 18th minute for what was their first real attack, leading to Matt Harkin lifting his shot from the edge of the area high over the top. Four minutes later the visitors' Adam Clarke embarked on a dangerous run, but as he cut into the area centre-back C.J. Browne got in the saving tackle.

Then in a spell of pressure on 28 minutes, Wexford Youths forced four successive corner kicks, but were unable to find a way through a packed defence, with 'keeper Ciaran Gallagher being fouled as he went to deal with the final effort.

Approaching the break Wexford Youths had a golden chance of breaking the deadlock when Tom Elmes played a great ball into the path of Craig Wall, but he pulled his shot across the face of the goal and wide, leaving it 0-0 at the interval.

While Wexford Youths were ticking all the right boxes, with accurate passing, solid defending and movement up front, they still had to wait until the 65th minute before they managed to break the deadlock.

Danny Furlong, who had been lively up front all through, sent over an accurate, high cross, that was powerfully headed home by Tom Elmes, giving the home side a lead they thoroughly deserved.

Three minutes later Finn Harps were reduced to nine players when Adam Clarke was red-carded following an off-the-ball incident. Finn Harps now brought all their players behind the ball, as they tried to counter-attack with quick breakaways but it came to nothing. Their one real shot on goal from Tommy Mcbride was excellently saved by home 'keeper Graham Doyle.

Wexford Youths were dominant in midfield and it was a break by Patsy Malone from deep that set up Danny Furlong who drilled a great shot across 'keeper Gallagher into the opposite corner of the net, leaving the home side with a 2-0 lead.

One minute from the end Aidan Keenen cut in from the left to shoot low to the bottom righthand corner of the net, leaving the home side with a deserved 3-0 victory which put them into third spot in the table, a remarkable transformation from last season.

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