Lyng and Berry put in Model display but Wexford need a lot of work
WEXFORD collected their second brace of points but it was anything but impressive against a feeble Down challenge at Wexford Park yesterday afternoon.
A goal after only 90 seconds from Wexford full-forward Tomas Waters set the trend in what was a cruel blow to Down, who badly needed a good start. To Down's credit, having fallen 1-4 to 0-2 behind inside 12 minutes, they were back level by the 14th minute.
Eoin Clarke pointed a free before a Gareth Johnson goal from a 20-metres free left the minimum between the sides, while on 14 minutes Simon Wilson's 70-metre free had the sides level at 1-4 each.
But that was as good as it got for Down as Wexford gradually took control. Four points on the trot, from Andrew Shore, Diarmuid Lyng (two frees) and PJ Nolan, edged the home side back into a 1-8 to 1-4 lead by the 21st minute.
Wexford tagged on a further six points by the break, with Jim Berry with two, substitute Peter Atkinson, Rory Jacob, Waters with two having them leading 1-14 to 1-5 at the interval. The visitors had a chance to reduce the deficit two minutes into additional-time but Johnson had a rasping effort from a free blocked away to safety.
Down resumed the second half with a long Wilson point from play but Wexford responded with a Lyng point. Down's hopes of a comeback were dealt a massive blow when centre-back Conor Woods was sent off on a straight red car for a wild pull on 42 minutes.
Wexford's tactic of playing quick ball into the attack worked for the rest of the game, with Lyng and Berry particularly prominent as they assumed total control.
With Lyng picking off some excellent points, Wexford's second goal arrived in the 49th minute. Wing-back Darren Stamp floated a long free to the edge of the square where Berry pounced on the breaking ball to shoot low past substitute 'keeper Karl Keating, leaving Wexford leading 2-18 to 1-7.
Down threatened little up front with only long-range Wilson frees making an impact. Points continued to flow from Lyng and Berry as Wexford strolled home.
Wexford face their toughest game so far in two weeks' time away to Clare knowing that improvement is needed, as Down face the reality of a relegation battle ahead having suffered consecutive defeats.
Scorers -- Wexford: D Lyng 0-11 (0-5f, 0-1 '65), J Berry 1-4, T Waters 1-2, R Jacob, P Atkinson 0-2 each, PJ Nolan, A Shore 0-1 each. Down: G Johnson 1-1 (1-1f), S Wilson 0-5 (0-3f, 0-1 '65), B Ennis, P Keith 0-2 each, E Clarke (0-1f), J McCuskar 0-1 each.
Wexford -- D Flynn; D Kehoe, P Roche, K rossiter; D Stamp, C Kenny, R Kehoe; PJ Nolan, M Travers; A Shore, W Doran, D Lyng; R Jacob, T Waters, J Berry. Subs: P Atkinson for Doran, C Farrell for Travers, S Banville for Nolan, P Nolan for Stamp.
Down -- G Clarke; L Clarke, S Murray, F Conway; S Wilson, C Woods, S Ennis; C O'Prey, C Coulter; E Clarke, G Johnson, B Ennis; J McCuskar, P Braniff, P Keith. Subs: R McGrattan for Conway, K Keating for G Clarke, P Flynn for Keith, S Clarke for McCuskar, P McAleenan for O'Prey.
Ref -- J O'Mahoney (Limerick).