Match Report: Galway United 2-0 Wexford FC (First Division)
Galway United made it back-to-back victories as they defeated Wexford FC 2-0 to maintain their 10-point lead at the top of the SSE Airtricity League First Division. The win sees the Tribesmen extend their perfect home record to seven wins from seven games.
A second half brace from Stephen Walsh saw the hosts claim all three points after a frustrating first half in which United couldn’t break down the stern Wexford defense.
John Caulfield made just one change to the side that beat Waterford last week as Conor O’Keeffe came into the side to replace the injured Colm Horgan.
Former United man Danny Furlong kicked off for the visitors and the opening exchanges saw both sides look to gain a foothold in the game with much of the first 10 minutes being contested in the middle third of the park.
The home side fashioned their first opportunity after 13 minutes from a well-worked corner kick routine which saw Regan Donelon and Edward McCarthy link up before David Hurley was picked on the edge of the box, but his strike whistled just wide of the post.
United almost opened the scoring with 19 minutes played as McCarthy fired across one of his long throw-ins which was flicked on by Vincent Borden and Stephen Walsh looked to have the goal at his mercy at the back post, but some incredible defending by the visitors kept the game scoreless.
The Tribesmen kept the pressure on the visitors as Brendan Clarke picked out the head of Borden who once again nodded the ball to Walsh who kept possession well before feeding the ball to Francely Lomboto on the left wing who cut inside and struck towards the near post, but Wexford goalkeeper Noel Heffernan was equal to it.
Clarke demonstrated his quality distribution once again as he released Walsh who strode into the box before pulling the back to Lomboto once more, but his shot was saved.
Wexford’s biggest chance of the half came 10 minutes before half-time when Hugh Douglas rose highest in the penalty area to meet a corner, but Clarke was well-positioned to save the centre back’s powerful header.
United continued to search for the opener before the half-time whistle as both Walsh and McCarthy looked to be in on goal on separate occasions, but both men seemed to just take a heavy touch at the vital moment and the sides went in all square at the break.
The second half began, and McCarthy continued to impress for the hosts with his powerful runs down both flanks. With 51 minutes played he surged down the left and played the ball to Lomboto in the box, he took a great touch on his chest and turned his man before pulling the ball back across goal, but the Wexford defence cleared the danger once more.
Just five minutes later, United found the breakthrough. Another well worked corner gave Donelon space to cross deep to the back post and Walsh ran onto it and planted a diving header into the bottom corner for his first of the game.
The Tribesmen doubled their lead 20 minutes from time with their talisman Walsh scoring once again. McCarthy showed his quality down the left once more as he beat his man and crossed into the box where Walsh was the first to react and fired a shot at the near post which Heffernan couldn’t keep out.
The final twenty minutes saw the visitors step up their efforts to get a goal and halve the deficit. A counter-attack spearheaded by Kian Corbally resulted in substitute Aaron Dobbs having a headed chance in the box but his effort was a tame one and comfortable for Clarke in the United goal.
With both sides making substitutions in the final ten minutes, chances were scarce but Galway United controlled the final moments to claim all three points.
The win sees The Tribesmen hold on to their 10-point lead at the top of the table before next week’s trip to Treaty United.
Assistant Manager Ollie Horgan spoke after the full-time whistle:
‘It was a very very difficult game’
‘In the second half we had energy about us, we had drive about us’
‘The supporters were excellent tonight, especially when we weren’t going well, and we need them with us’
Galway United: B. Clarke, C. O’Keeffe, K. Brouder, R. Slevin, R. Donelon, E. McCarthy (I. Keita 90’), V. Borden (M. Nugent 82’), C. McCormack, F. Lomboto (D. Clarke 65’), D. Hurley (M. Rowe 90’), S. Walsh.
Wexford FC: N. Heffernan, R. Webb, E. Boyle, H. Douglas, B. Lynch (C. Levingston 76’), M. Dunne, C. Piper, K. Corbally, D. Furlong (M. Hanratty 59’), B. McCann (D. Levingston 76’), K. Chambers (A. Dobbs 71’).
Next up for our senior men’s side, we travel to Markets Field to take on Treaty United on Friday, May 19th at 7:45pm.