Wexford Youths 0 Dundalk 1
Having lost their last two league games, Dundalk capitalised on their European exploits when a David McMilland goal in the 39th minute goal helped them to three points against Wexford Youths in their Airtricity Premier Division clash at Ferrycarrig Park last night.
Wexford won their previous two games, defeating Sligo Rovers in the cup, but still found themselves second from bottom, fighting a relegation battle, but with Dundalk having lost successive league games, it gave them some hope going into this game.
Dundalk showed a determination to get back to winning ways in the league having dropped six points with two consecutive defeats for the first time since September 2013.
It was an impressive opening five minutes from Dundalk as they peppered the home goal with Shane Grimes having a left-footed cross punched clear by keeper Graham Doyle.
Bursting quickly from midfield they were troubling the home back four but were unable to capitalise on their possession.
Wexford Youths had their first attempt on goal when an eighth minute free kick from Johne Bonner curled just outside the right hand post, while two minutes later Aidan Keenan had a dipping 25-metre shot go just over the top.
While the Youths were battling hard it was Dundalk who controled most of the possession. After 18 minutes John Mountney’s left-footed shot was spilled by keeper Doyle but centre-back Stephen Last managed to clear to safety.
Dundalk were showing lots of energy despite their midweek exertions in Warsaw with John Mountney coming close to giving his side the lead after 23 minutes.
Lee Grace skewed a clearance across the face of the goal, leaving Mountney in on goal, but he delayed his effort allowing keeper Doyle time to recover and clear.
Having dominated possession, Dundalk eventually got the breakthrough, after 39 minutes. It was somewhat of a bizarre goal.
Wexford were pressing but Shane Dunne had his shot blocked, with the ball breaking down the centre for David McMillan to race clear of two chasing defenders to send a low shot past the advancing Doyle.
Within two minutes of the restart a great Stephen O’Donnell ball set up Mountney but Lee Grace got back to block his attempt on goal.
The visitors were laying siege to the home goal as they strove to fashion a second goal. Stephen Last fouled McMillan just outside area with Robbie Benson’s ensuing freekick saved by Doyle.
Youths, who had six players already booked, had Peter Higgins sent off on a second yellow after 60 minutes following a foul on Sean Gannon.
After 65 minutes Ronan Finn had a powerful header from a Gannon cross just wide, with the Youths now finding it increasingly difficult to get out of their own half.
Dundalk’s dominance continued right to the end but the surprising factor is that they were unable to fashion a second goal despite a couple of fine runs and efforts from centre-forward David McMillan.
But it mattered little as the homeside failed to create a single second half chance.
WEXFORD YOUTHS: Graham Doyle, Conor O’Keeffe (Eric Molloy 62), Stephen Last, Lee Grace, Craig McCabe, Aidan Friel (Owen Porter 80), Andy Mulligan, Johne Bonner, Shane Dunne, Aidan Keenan, Peter Higgins.
DUNDALK: Gary Rogers, Sean Gannon, Andy Boyle, Stephen O’Donnell, Ian Gartland, John Mountjoy (Dean Shiels 72), David McMillan, Ronan Finn, Shane Grimes, Robbie Benson (Patrick McEleney 67) , Darren Meenan (Chris Shields 88).
Referee: Robert Harvey.
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