St. Patrick’s Athletic stormed to a dominant 4-0 victory over Wexford Youths on Friday night at Richmond Park. Goals from Mark Timlin, Christy Fagan and a double from Conan Byrne brought them their fifth victory of the season. The win, added to Monday’s 2-1 defeat of Finn Harps, brings Liam Buckley’s side into third spot after eight games played.
Christy Fagan was the star performer on the night as he found his groove once again to fire home a sixth goal in eight games continuing his form that earned the forward the SSE Airtricty League Player of the Month award for his performances in March.
Wexford Youths struggled to deal with the high-tempo of football on show by St. Pat’s – Shane Keegan’s side were put under immense pressure repeatedly in the opening half with central defender Stephen Best tasked with the unforgiving job of marking Fagan throughout.
But it was Mark Timlin who gave the Saints the lead within the opening 10 minutes. An acute pass by midfielder Graham Kelly found Conan Byrne free on the right. Byrne took the ball closer toward the perimeter of the penalty area before chipping a tidy cross toward the back post which Timlin dispatched into Graham Doyle who could only uproot the ball into the roof of the goal.
It was 2-0 not long after but this time Timlin turned provider. His cross from the right found Fagan in oceans of space, unmarked in the middle of the box. He took the ball into his chest before setting himself up for a wonderful left-footed volley which slammed past the flat-footed Doyle.
Visibly high on the confidence of two goals inside ten minutes but it took another 23 minutes before the Saints had their third. Billy Dennehy looked to have taken too much out of the ball before finally releasing a tame effort on his weaker foot on the outside of the box.
The ball fell on a plate to Byrne who did not hesitate before curling a wonderful effort with the outside of his right boot into the top right-hand corner of the goal sending his side into the break 3-0 ahead and firmly in control.
Youths began the second half brighter. Danny Furlong and Paul Murphy played on the shoulder of the St. Pat’s defence and linked up well with the long distance passes of Lee Grace from the centre of midfield.
They almost looked to salvage the beginning of an unlikely comeback when the ball fell to the feet of Furlong just inside the box. The forward, who has already registered five goals this so far this season, turned and shot with his back to goal but his effort was saved well by the low diving Brendan Clarke.
However it was 4-0 after 57 minutes as Ian Bermingham loitered around the edge of the penalty area following a trademark run along the touchline behind the sleeping Wexford defence. The Saints defender crossed low through the entire stretch of the Wexford penalty area before landing on the foot of Byrne who doubled his own tally, smashing the ball past Doyle.
In a bizarre turn of events Shane Keegan’s side were reduced to ten men in the aftermath of the goal as forward Danny Furlong was sent off by referee Robert Harvey for what appeared to be dissent.
St. Pat’s continued to push for a fifth, but Wexford nevertheless refused to stop going forward. Paul Murphy remained up front and registered a promising shot on the edge of the area which cannoned off the back of Bermingham before hitting Lee Desmond on its way out to calls of hand-ball from the visiting supporters.
David Cawley registered another effort on goal from distance before the introduction of Jamie McGrath, Dinny Corcoran and Sam Verdon injected a new wave of vigour into the St. Pat’s attack following a lull period.
It was almost five as the game neared its final stages when David Cawley ran down the right touchline unmarked before swinging in a low cross which the untracked Dinny Corcoran looked certain to steer into an empty goal. It remained four however, as Corcoran hit the side-netting as St. Pat’s made it two wins in the space of five days, leapfrogging Galway United into third place in the Premier Division.
St. Patrick’s Athletic: Brendan Clarke; Michael Barker, Sean Hoare, Lee Desmond, Ian Bermingham; Conan Byrne, David Cawley, Graham Kelly, Mark Timlin (Sam Verdon 77), Billy Dennehy (Jamie McGrath 66); Christy Fagan (Dinny Corcoran 73).
Subs not used: Patrick Jennings; Jason McGuinness, Shane McEleney, Keith Treacy.
Yellow Cards: None.
Wexford Youths: Graham Doyle; Craig McCabe, Stephen Last, Gary Delaney (Aidan Friel 84), Ryan Delaney; Eric Molloy, Lee Grace (Jonny Bonner 69), Chris Kenny, Andy Mulligan; Paul Murphy (Conor English 84), Danny Furlong
Subs not used: Matthew Connor; Conor O’Keefe, Danny Ledwith, Conor Whittle, Matt Connor.
Yellow Cards: None.
Sent-off: Danny Furlong (57).
Referee: Robert Harvey.
ExtraTime.ie Man of the Match: Christy Fagan (St. Patrick’s Athletic).