Tadgh Williams reports from the UCD Bowl
DLR Waves and Wexford Youths shared the spoils in Waves’ first game of the 2021 SSE Airtricity WNL season. Goals from Carla McManus and Kylie Murphy saw the sides finish the game 1-1.
The first half was dominated by Wexford, their physicality and control of the ball well matched by Waves who had set themselves up brilliantly defensively.
From the off, a Lynn-Marie Grant ball down the right found Aisling Frawley in behind the Waves full back. As was the story of the half however, it was dealt with effectively by the Waves defence.
Ellen Molloy showed her trickery a couple of minutes later. A 360-turn setting up Lynn-Marie Grant for a long distance shot but it was pulled left of the post.
It was the home side who went ahead first, against the run of play. A misplaced pass from Wexford’s defence put Carla McManus through on six minutes, sliding the ball into the bottom left-hand corner. Nothing Wexford keeper Ciamh Gray could have done about the perfectly placed shot.
Waves’ pressing game kept Wexford from creating too many chances in the first half. Forced to pass the ball around the back for much of the game, Youths continually looked to play in their front three behind Waves high line, Jess Gleeson and Niamh Prior cleaning up at the back for Waves.
Molloy’s trickery was again on show, working the ball into the Waves box. The ball breaking reached Edel Kennedy but a poor shot was easy for Eve Badana to put her gloves behind.
Waves did look dangerous on the break throughout the half, constantly looking to make use of Carla McManus’ pace. Halfway through the half a Kerri Letmon free for Waves was floated to the far post, grazing the head of Niamh Barnes. If she had connected better Wexford could have found themselves two down.
Wexford were looking to create chances throughout the half but were failing to find someone. Ellen Molloy, Aisling Frawley and Ciara Rossiter constantly looking for someone to get on the end of their plays but couldn’t find any joy.
On the half-hour mark Wexford attempted a free kick from the training ground. Aoibheann Clancy floating a ball to the back post from the left-hand side with Wexford attacking the ball. Lauren Dwyer’s head found the ball but she picked up a knock at the same time. After some treatment she was okay to play on.
Wexford had a couple of chances in the final minutes of the first half. Lynn-Marie Grant’s pull back in the Waves box drifted out wide yet again without a Wexford leg reaching the ball.
The early stages of the second half told a similar story to the first. Jess Gleeson’s head snuffing out any hope of a high ball in behind the Waves defence. A few Wexford attacks suffering again from lack of a finisher in the box.
Wexford’s first real chance of the second half fell on 57 minutes. Lynn-Marie Grant robbed the ball from a Waves player in her own half and looked to hit the top left from outside the box, but the ball floated just over the bar.
Ciara Rossiter was the source of a lot of Wexford danger in the game. On the hour mark she looked to cut inside and find a shot on goal but sufficient pressure from the Waves defence saw the ball bobble into the hands of Eve Badana.
Despite Wexford’s dominance, DLR did manage to provide a couple of heart-in-mouth moment. In the 67th minute Katie Malone managed to pull off a shot under pressure from Lauren Dwyer outside the box but Ciamh Gray saw it float safely wide past her right hand post.
A couple of minutes later Wexford’s passing game finally paid off. Ellen Molloy collected a ball outside the box from Aisling Frawley, managing to slide the ball out to Kylie Murphy from under her feet. Murphy slotted the ball behind Eve Badana comfortably with her first touch.
Wexford found a lot more hunger in their game after equalising and put DLR under a lot more pressure. The press made Waves look a bit nervy at times, misplacing passes and sending the ball long.
On 75 minutes however Waves substitute Catherine Cronin found herself chasing a ball through on goal. Ciara Rossiter used all her pace and hunger to get there first however snuffing the ball out ahead of the Waves attacker.
The final ten minutes of the game provided the small crowd of press and officials with serious entertainment as the game opened up, both sides’ midfields looking for balls to split the opposing defence. Aoibheann Clancy showed great moments of calmness on the ball in breaking up the play.
Wexford maintained the pressure though, Lynn Craven and Vanessa Ogbonna proving themselves to be decent substitutions linking up well and finding a lot of joy down the right flank. A dangerous period of possession on the 84th minute ended with a Rossiter shot from distance. Badana was happy to watch it fly past her right-hand post but
A couple of minutes later Ellen Molloy’s free kick floated as far as the back post. Kylie Murphy’s header back was met by Lynn-Marie Grant but Badana put herself safely behind the ball. The linesman’s flag had gone up for offside but the referee waved play on.
On 87 minutes Wexford were given a controversial corner. Rossiter’s ball in was pushed away by Badana only as far as Murphy, whose subsequent header lands again in Badana’s safe hands. The Waves goalkeeper proving her worth having joined from Treaty in the pre-season.
Waves nearly snatched a winner themselves in the final minute of normal play. An assumingly lacklustre ball into the Wexford box had to be dealt with quickly by Orlaith Conlon under pressure from Katie Malone. A heart in mouth moment for Wexford.
Wexford piled on pressure in the final moments, an Aoibheann Clancy corner palmed away by Badana only as far as Ogbonna, but without any power behind the shot it was cleared away by the Waves defence.
Despite Wexford possession and pressure, Waves defence proved themselves a solid unit throughout a very physical game. A draw was a fair reflection of the full 90 minutes.
DLR Waves: Eve Badana; Niamh Prior, Niamh Barnes, Jess Gleeson, Nicole Keogh (Aoife Brophy 73’); Nadine Clare, Rachel Doyle (C); Shauna Carroll (Catherine Cronin 73’), Avril Brierley (Katie Malone 59’), Kerri Letmon; Carla McManus (Jane McKevitt 81’)
Subs not used: Rugile Auskainyte (GK), Rebekah Carroll, Oleta Griffin,
Wexford Youths: Ciamh Gray; Ciara Rossiter, Lauren Dwyer, Orlaith Conlon, Nicola Sinnott (Lynn Craven 63’); Aoibheann Clancy, Edel Kennedy (Sinead Taylor 63’), Lynn-Marie Grant; Ellen Molloy, Kylie Murphy (C), Aisling Frawley (Vanessa Ogbonna 79’)
Subs not used: Maeve Williams (GK), Fiona Ryan, Kim Flood, Kira Bates-Crosby
Referee: Mark Houlihan
ExtraTime.ie Player of the Match: Jess Gleeson (DLR Waves)