Shelbourne win to keep pressure on UCD

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Shelbourne fans in Tolka Park

Shelbourne came away from Tolka Park with a deserved three points against an ill-disciplined Waterford United. At this stage of the season and with a dog fight on their hands with UCD for the final play off spot, Kevin Doherty’s squad knew that they couldn’t let any precious points slip through the cracks.

The home side dominated the first half and could have gone ahead early in the game. Defender Sean Heaney picked up a loose ball in the box. His effort went across the face of goal but ultimately went wide.

Shelbourne continued to press ahead with Dylan McGlade in particular, giving the Waterford defence headaches as he dashed down the right wing. He also created a few good chances in the process for his side with splendid crosses into the box. Unfortunately, the end product by the targeted players were not good enough and they did little to trouble the keeper.

The deadlock was broken midway through the half. Defender Adam O’Connor played a beautiful low cross from the right side of the area. The ball was met by James English, who clipped the ball with the inside of his right foot. The effort was enough to creep by Waterford keeper, Robert Birdsall.

Waterford’s night didn’t get any better as defender Dean Reidy had to be replaced after half an hour by Robbie Buckley with what looked like a leg injury. the away side pushed ahead late into the half and Anthony McAlavey gave Shels a scare before the break. The striker managed to round Greg Murray but he went too far and was left with a near impossible shot from an angle, which went wide.

The visitors could have easily gone down to 10 men late in the first half as Colum Nugent went in hard and late on Shels goalscorer, James English. The defender can count him lucky that he wasn’t taking an early bath.

Shelbourne started the second half like they had left the first, pressing on the visitors and pushing forward. Their pressure paid off as English nabbed his second goal of the game after only only one minute of play in the second half. Gareth Coughlan played a lovely short pass to the striker, who hit it hard and low from right to left. The ball beat an outstretching Birdsall, who could have done better to keep his side in the game.

Waterford then attempted to get into the game once more and again went close. The best chance for the visitors came mid way throughout the half, Corey Galvin with the ball and like a bolt of lightening, made his way down the pitch. He picked out Aaron O’Connor with a lovely pass but the target man could only shoot straight at shot stopper Murray.

The game was all but over with less then 10 minutes to go. Nugent, who was lucky not to be sent off in the first half, went in late with two feet on Sean Heaney. The Waterford man was shown a straight red. Heaney was very lucky to walk away from the tackle as it looked much worse.

The visitors were immediately punished by the hosts. Substitute, Conor Earley, made he was into the box but picked out an unmarked Carl Walshe on the edge of the area. The striker moved into the area and dummied the defence. He then took a crack at goal. His effort was low and went across the area. Again, Birdsall was caught out and ball creeped by him to make it 3-0.

The victory leaves Shelbourne in fourth place but only one point behind third place UCD, who lost to Finn Harps. Manager, Kevin Doherty will be hoping his side can keep up a similar performance in their last two games of the season, against Wexford Youths and Cobh Ramblers, and push for a play off place and try and secure a return to the top division.

Waterford United drop to the bottom of the league as Cabinteely move ahead after a victory against Cobh Ramblers. Manager Roddy Collins will be disappointed with the overall performance of his side but he knows this team is a work in progress. Arguably, Waterford’s goal now is to get off the bottom of the league and look toward the work that needs to be done ahead of next season.

SHELBOURNE: Murray, O’Connor, Osam, Robinson, Heaney (Donnelly 85′), Doyle (C) (Andrews 85′), Coughlan (Earley 71′), Crowe, Walshe, English, McGlade

Substitutes: Brady, Dixon, Sandford, O’Sullivan
Goals: English (27′, 46′), Walshe (85′)
Yellow Cards: Robinson (40′)

Waterford United: Birdsall, Corcoran, Reidy (Buckley 32′), Nugent, Mackey, Boyle (C), E.Galvin (Nolan ’85), O’Connor, Prendergast (Walsh 56′), McAlavey, C.Galvin

Substitutes: Connor
Yellow Cards: Nugent (44′)
Red Cards: Nugent (83′)

Referee: Robert Hennessey

Attendance: 513

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Youths take a point despite Shels onslaught

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Tolka Park

Wexford Youths will be counting themselves lucky after leaving Tolka Park with a point after an entertaining, albeit one-sided goaless draw in the capital. Shelbourne dominated the possession from the start and had numerous efforts to take all three points but they just could not break the deadlock and will be left fuming with this result as they push towards the latter stage of the season.

The first half was a lively affair. Shelbourne were in control for most of the opening exchanges. Gareth Coughlan had a wonderful chance to put his side ahead early in the game. The winger moved in from the left hand side of the pitch and muscled his way towards the centre of the box. Pulling off a dummy shot, Coughlan then gave himself plenty of space and time to take a crack at goal. His effort curled from right to left but landed straight in the arms of Youth’s keeper Graham Doyle.

Coughlan also had a few other chances to put his side ahead. However, his efforts were soft and were easily picked up by Doyle. The best effort in the half started with a lovely pass by Philip Hughes, his back to the goal, laying the ball to Mark Sandford. The young striker hit the ball sweetly with his right foot and it was curling towards goal. However, there was just a bit too much power behind it as it crept over the bar.

Wexford Youths came into their own after the first quarter. Ryan Delaney went close to putting the visitors ahead with a perfectly timed header from a free kick. The effort was picked out by Shelbourne’s shot stopper, Greg Murray.

Wexford Youths came back onto the pitch after the break a livelier side as they knew, arguably, they should have been behind going in at half time. Andrew Mulligan went close to putting his side ahead with a low shot to the right which troubled Murray as the ball spilled out of his hands. Danny Furlong went for a strike at goal but was beaten to the punch by Murray who tucked the ball safely in his hands and chest. A let off for the home side.

The second half was only ten minutes old when the the biggest talking point of the game occurred. James English, on for Mark Sandford at the break, had made his way into the box when attempting to slither through two of the visiting defenders. The striker clattered into the defence and landed flat on the ground, hands in the air. The referee and his assistant judged that there wasn’t much in it. A real let off for the visitors as a penalty could have easily been given on another day.

In the latter stages of the half, It was all the home side. They attacked and attacked but they just could not break the deadlock. Hughes had a few good efforts at goal. The pick of the punch being Darragh Gannon directing a long pass to the striker, who picked it up just inside the area and took a shot, however the effort was tipped wide by Doyle.

English seemed to be brought down a second time in the box. However, he looked to have made the most of it as it appeared that Lee Grace had grabbed a fistful of the striker’s shirt. The striker also went close several times from dead ball situations. He managed to direct a number of headers towards goal but they either crept over, were tipped over or cleared inches from the line.

The draw halts Shelbourne’s four game winning streak. They now sit in third place, four points behind new league leaders, Finn Harps. UCD, who are fourth, remain a threat to Shels, as they sit one point behind but have two games in hand after their exploits in Europe. Shelbourne travel to fifth place, Cobh Ramblers next Saturday as they push ahead in their bid for promotion back to the Premier Division.

Wexford Youths drop to second in the league despite earning their first point in nearly three weeks. They will be at home next Friday to welcome Finn Harps in the clash of the top two in the division. Manager, Shane Keegan will know that his side will need to improve if they wish to secure the top spot once again.

SHELBOURNE: Murray, Gannon, Osam, Robinson, Heaney, Doyle (C), Coughlan, Donnelly (Walsh 60′), Hughes, Sandford (English 45′), McGlade

Substitutes: Ryan, Andrews, Crowe, O’Sullivan, Walshe
Yellow Cards: Coughlan (35′)

Wexford Youths: Doyle (C), McCabe, R.Delaney (Tyrell 61′), G.Delaney, Grace, Higgins, Mulligan, Wall, Furlong, Cathillane (Dunne 93′), Whittle (Molloy 61′)

Substitutes: Dunne, Dermody, Kenny, Peare, Dowling
Yellow Cards: Wall (85′)

Referee: Ben Connolly

Attendance: 762