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MATCH HIGHLIGHTS Highlights from last nights excellent 2-0 win over @AthloneTownAFC are now available to watch o… https://t.co/JYEPDnNLbl

WNL debutantes Athlone pushed Wexford Youths all the way on Saturday evening, Aisling Frawley scoring the only goal of the game midway through the second half to secure a hard earned three points for Tom Elmes's side. No doubt there were many sore bodies over the weekend after a hectic physically punishing contest at Athlone Town Stadium.

Cheered on by a boisterous home crowd, Athlone came out fast and were relentless in the opening moments of the game, Youths players given absolutley no time on the ball and the middle of the park quickly turned into a battle as both sides looked for a stranglehold on possession.

Tom Elmes had named the same starting eleven that swept aside Bohemians at Ferrycarrig Park seven days previously and his team had to really dig deep to match their opponents quick start. The high tempo from the home team on such a warm summers evening was a big test for Wexford, it was a question of whether Athlone could keep it up for the full 90. In the end the answer to that question was no.

Youths did create chances in the opening moments of the game, Ellen Molloy had a shot blocked on the line while Kylie Murphy had a volley and a header saved by Niamh Coombes but Athlone had the better opportunities to break the deadlock, in particular when Heatherington was through on goal but her attempted lob missed in the 28th minute of the game. Ciamh Gray had two fine saves, the best one when she had to quickly dive low to her left to tip away a shot that was destined for the corner of the net in the 40th minute.  Zara Lawless also struck the woodwork with a long range effort that had the Wexford keeper beaten.

Tom Elmes would have been happy to see his side come in at the break still level.

The second half saw Wexford take back control of the game, slowly but surely.

Kylie Murphy should have given Youths the lead just shortly after the restart but she couldn't direct Lauren Kelly's cross on target, that was quickly followed by Kelly herself testing the keeper from a free kick. The home team's tempo dropped considerably in the second 45, it was near impossible to keep up the pace at which they started with. Also the hugely experienced players on the Wexford team bettered their game management from the first, slowing down the game where they could and keeping possession of the ball much better. The goal threat from Athlone disappeared although they continued to press the Wexford back four till the final whistle.

The only goal came in the 71st minute, starting with Aoibheann Clancy (who replaced Kelly in the 68th minute) who took possession in the centre circle and picked out Vanessa Ogbonna on the wing with a composed pass. Ogbonna outpaced the Athlone defender and sent in a low cross to the waiting Frawley at the back post who had an easy finish, the keeper taken out of the game with the super cross. 

Wexford pressed on after that, sensing that Athlone were fading and Frawley had a great chance to get her second in the 82nd minute but Coombes was quick off her line to block her effort while Clancy flashed a shot across goal just before the final whistle sounded.

A very good three points for Wexford Youths, plenty of teams will struggle to come away from Lissywoolen this season with any.

Up next, Galway WFC at Ferrycarrig Park on Saturday evening.

Wexford Youths WFC: Ciamh Gray, Lynn Craven, Nicola Sinnott (Lauren Dwyer 60'), Orlaith Conlon, Ciara Rossiter, Kylie Murphy (c), Edel Kennedy, Aisling Frawley, Ellen Molloy, Lauren Kelly (Aoibheann Clancy 68') and Vanessa Ogbonna (Blessing Kingsley 80'). Subs Not Used: Fiona Ryan, Kira Bates Crosbie and Maeve Williams.

Athlone Town: Niamh Coombes, Fiona Owens, Leah Brady, Zara Lawless, Paula Doran, Kayleigh Shine, Kayla Brady, Katelyn Keogh, Kellie Brennan, Robyn Heatherington and Aoife Haran.  Subs: Jessica Turner, Orlaith White, Chloe McNamee, Roisin Jacob, Amy Hyndman, Sinead Farrell and Allie Heatherington.

You can check out the match highlights below:

 

 

 

 

 

 

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