Saturday 19 October 2019

Galway win basement battle

Soccer, SSE Airtricity First Division: Galway United 2 Wexford FC 0

Alan Aherne in Eamonn Deacy Park

The leapfrogging between Wexford F.C. and Galway United at the base of the SSE Airtricity First Division table continued on a pleasant evening in Eamonn Deacy Park on Friday when goals in the 29th and 79th minutes guided the home side to victory.

The visitors had enjoyed a welcome respite from being rock bottom after the impressive win against Athlone Town in Ferrycarrig Park seven days earlier, but it proved shortlived although they created numerous chances and competed well in general terms.

With Kilkenny duo Paddy Cahill and Emmet Nugent unavailable, and Darragh O'Connor on the bench, the team showed three changes in personnel as Owen McCormack returned from suspension to right-back, Lee Costello made a comeback from injury on the other flank, and Nika Arevadze was given a start on the left wing.

There was also a first appearance on the bench for another promising youngster in Ciarán Paige, while the substitute goalkeeper's gloves were worn by Jason McGuire from Ferns for the second week running.

Wexford threatened first in the third minute when Danny Doyle sent a first-time shot left and wide after a poor attempt at a clearance from a header by Galway captain Maurice Nugent.

Thomas Croke was then off target from distance before the locals created their first opening in the 14th minute, with Wilson Waweru availing of good approach work from Conor Barry and wily old fox Vinny Faherty before firing his shot to the left of the posts.

Wexford were within a whisker of taking the lead on their next attack after Jack Doherty's pass found Nika Arevadze who won a tussle with two defenders in the box before shooting narrowly wide of the left post.

Thomas Croke had an effort blocked before Owen McCormack was forced into conceding the first of Galway's five corners, a figure matched by Wexford by the end of the game.

Colin Kelly's delivery struck Danny Doyle and fell into the path of Conor Barry, but he shot over before a Jack Doherty flag-kick at the other end was cleared.

It took a piece of magic to unlock a Wexford defence where captain Chris Kenny was prominent with a succession of relieving headers.

A throw on the right in the 29th minute found Vinny Faherty who helped the ball on to Conor Barry, and when it sat up invitingly for him just outside the box, he took aim with a beauty into the far corner of Corey Chambers' net.

That lead was almost doubled when the excellent Conor Melody, who was causing havoc down the right wing, floated in a cross for Wilson Waweru whose header from close range was close enough to the netminder for him to make a reaction save before being fouled by Faherty.

A low cross by Colin Kelly then went off Chris Kenny for a corner that ended with a shot being struck left and wide, with Darragh O'Connor coming on to replace Lee Costello who was under pressure from Melody as the Galway winger was making sweet music every time he got the ball.

The Clonroche man was beaten for pace by the number 8 in their first tussle, but the Galway dangerman couldn't test Chambers.

Danny Furlong, making a return to one of his old clubs, was unable to get any power behind a shot that Kevin Horgan saved comfortably at his near post in the 37th minute, and the half ended with Galway holding that 1-0 lead.

Thomas Croke was booked on the re-start for a foul on Conor Melody, reacting after Jack Doherty ended on the deck but wasn't awarded a free-kick.

Kevin Horgan had to push a cross by Owen McCormack that dipped at crossbar height over for a corner in the 57th minute, but Jack Doherty's long delivery to the far post struck Darragh O'Connor's leg and went wide.

Melody didn't worry Corey Chambers with a weak shot, but his long ball from the right in the 59th minute almost led to the second goal.

Vinny Faherty knocked it down for Conor Barry who hesitated for a second instead of pulling the trigger, and that was sufficient time for Ryan Nolan to nick the ball away from his feet.

The Ferns man then shot high and wide before Melody hung a cross from the byline to the far post for Faherty whose downward header lacked the power to threaten Chambers.

Joe Collins saw yellow for a foul on Nolan before Seán Roche came on for Nika Arevadze, and the Wexford netminder did have to show his worth on the next Galway attack.

A crossfield Melody delivery found Colin Kelly who beat Jack Doherty before forcing Chambers into a save, with the rebound coming to Melody whose effort was blocked for a fruitless corner.

Seán Callan had a free header from a Doherty flag-kick on the right in the 72nd minute, only to direct it at goalkeeper Kevin Horgan, and he came close in similar fashion, but this time from the left, on the next Wexford attack.

Galway had threatened in between, with substitute Ivan Gamarra finding Faherty who held off Chris Kenny before shooting tamely to the left and wide.

Kenny headed over from the last Wexford corner in the 77th minute, and they waved goodbye to any prospects of earning a point after Seán Callan was booked for a foul on Wilson Waweru on the left.

Conor Barry's free-kick was met at the far post by Waweru before captain Maurice Nugent was on hand for a tap-in from close range after the ball came back into play off the crossbar.

Chambers tipped a long-range shot from Conor Barry over as Galway sought a third after all-but making sure of their first home win of the season.

A Thomas Croke strike from the left of the area was well saved, with Kevin Horgan's kick-out helped on by Vinny Faherty to Wilson Waweru who pulled his effort across goal and wide.

Seán Callan was pushed up front in a last-ditch bid to salvage something, and he had a shot stopped before the inrushing Danny Doyle blazed the rebound to the left and wide.

Conor Melody scuffed a shot off target in the four added minutes, while Seán Roche's fly kick from a long ball by Owen McCormack didn't pose any problems before the full-time whistle confirmed Wexford's return to last place.

They are home to Cobh Ramblers on Friday at 7.45 p.m.

Wexford F.C.: Corey Chambers; Owen McCormack, Seán Callan, Chris Kenny (capt.), Lee Costello; Danny Doyle, Thomas Croke, Ryan Nolan, Nika Arevadze; Jack Doherty, Danny Furlong. Subs. - Darragh O'Connor for Costello (35), Seán Roche for Arevadze (68), also Jason McGuire, Andrew Farrell, Ciarán Paige.

Galway United: Kevin Horgan; Christopher Horgan, Maurice Nugent (capt.), Cian Murphy, Mark Hannon; Joe Collins; Conor Melody, Conor Barry, Colin Kelly; Wilson Waweru, Vinny Faherty. Subs. - Ivan Gamarra for Collins, inj. (73), Donal Higgins for Kelly (75), Shane Doherty for Barry (81), also James Tierney, Adam Rooney, Ronan Asgari, Matthew Barrett.

Referee: Kevin O'Sullivan (Cork).

Gorey Guardian