Wexford Youths 0, Derry City 0
WEXFORD YOUTHS goalkeeper, Gary Doyle denied a wasteful Derry City side a second consecutive victory at Ferrycarrig Park, but the point gained cemented third spot for the Candystripes.
Derry City striker, Nathan Boyle spurned several chances in either half and the Candystripes will no doubt feel three valuable league points went begging despite moving three points clear of their nearest challengers for the third European qualification spot.
However, with fourth placed, Shamrock Rovers losing 3-0 in Cork and with the ‘Hoops’ having to visit champions, Dundalk on Tuesday night, Derry boss, Kenny Shiels can be content with the share of the spoils earned against relegation threatened Wexford as they stretched their unbeaten run to nine games.
Wexford did have their chances in the opening half with Eric Molloy striking the crossbar with the home side’s best effort while Gerard Doherty was forced into making a couple of decent saves but Derry wasted so many chances to clinch victory.
Shiels made three changes from the team which defeated Wexford last weekend in the 3-1 FAI Cup quarter-final win at the same venue.
With Aaron McEneff and Dean Jarvis suspended, in came Harry Monaghan and Austrian defender, Max Karner while Boyle joined Rory Patterson in a two-pronged attack as Ronan Curtis dropped to the bench.
Wexford also made three changes with Andy Mulligan,Stephen Last and Andrew O’Connor in for Chris Kenny, Shane Dunne and John Bonner.
It was a frantic opening to the match and the visitors almost reaped their rewards for their early pressure.
Indeed, after just 60 seconds Karner’s first contribution - a 30 yard ball over the top - found Boyle who raced in behind the last Wexford defender but Doyle was quick off his line to snuff out the danger.
Wexford responded and from a long, angled cross into the box, it eventually fell to striker, Paul Murphy but his header inside the six yards box was straight at Doherty.
After a period of sustained pressure by the home lot and a series of dangerous long throw-ins from Craig McCabe, Molloy found himself in space and his shot cannoned off the crossbar with Doherty beaten on nine minutes.
City striker, Boyle was presented with another promising chance when Patterson found him in the penalty box but Doyle blocked the ball at his feet. The rebound fell kindly to Barry McNamee but his shot deflected off the Wexford keeper and went wide of post.
Boyle again found himself in a promising position when he got in between McCabe and Lee Grace but he delayed his shot and was eventually crowded out.
McNamee then tried his luck from distance and when Doyle spilled the ball it fell kindly to Patterson who put it through the keeper’s legs and into the net but the referee’s assistant correctly ruled it out for offside on the half hour mark.
Wexford broke immediately and substitute, Bonner’s curling left footed strike on the half volley skimmed the top of the crossbar.
It was a good spell for the home side and they almost capitalised from another long ball as Murphy got in behind the Derry defence but Doherty spread himself well and the shot deflected off his out-stretched leg out for corner.
It was end-to-end but neither side were able to make the most of their gilt-edged chances.
Derry made a confident start to the second half and created two fantastic chances in the opening two minutes but they were squandered by Schubert and then Boyle.
Boyle was gifted yet another superb chance on 58 minutes when he took the ball beautifully into his path but his shot was blocked again by Doyle who came to Wexford’s rescue once again.
Derry allowed Andrew O’Connor to run from inside his own half and he eventually played into Murphy who found Bonner and his shot was saved well by Doherty as Wexford grew in confidence.
Patterson was frustrated and his snap-shot from just outside the area was gathered cleanly by Doyle as Derry continued to press on.
And Schubert was gifted a glorious chance at the end to clinch the win when McNamee’s free-kick eventually fell at his feet but he was unable to control the ball with the goal at his mercy and the chance went begging.
And in the closing minutes Andy Mulligan was inches away from winning the game for the Youths, but his powerful drive was tipped over the bar by Doherty but it was a precious point for the home side.
Wexford Youths: Graham Doyle; Craig McCabe, Gary Delaney (John Bonner 20), Lee Grace, Aidan Friel; Eric Molloy, Andrew O’Connor, Shane Dempsey (Chris Kenny 90), Stephen Last, Andy Mulligan; Paul Murphy (Owen Porter 80); Subs Not Used - Danny Furlong, Aidan Friel, Shane Dunne,, Cory Chambers.
Derry City: Ger Doherty; Ben Doherty, Niclas Vemmelund, Max Karner, Conor McDermott; Nathan Boyle (Josh Daniels 70), Harry Monaghan (Rory Holden 86), Conor McCormack, Lukas Schubert; Barry McNamee; Rory Patterson; Subs Not Used - Keith Ward, Cristian Castells, Ronan Curtis, Cathal Farren.
Referee - Tomas Connolly (Dublin).