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Waters wins it for Wexford as Antrim lack a ruthless touch

Patrick McBride
Patrick McBride

By Brendan Furlong

Midfielder Daithi Waters on as a second half substitute scored the crucial goal as Wexford foraged their way to an four-point victory over Antrim in this Division 4 game played at Innovate Wexford Park.

Waters saved Wexford blushes after they were level 0-5 apiece at the interval, the homeside having played with the wind, but it was Antrim's reluctance to shoot which came back to haunt them.

Wexford manager Paul McLoughlin said: "We left ourselves a lot to do after a disappointing first half. Then we had Glen Malone red carded four minutes into the second half."

Antrim boss Lenny Harbinson said: "We said at half-time, keep calm and shoot for points. But for some reason, our forwards were reluctant to take on scoring opportunities."

The sides were deadlocked 0-3 each at the end of 15 minutes with Ryan Murray, two frees and Patrick McBride, finding the range for the Glensmen, while Wexford's response came through Jonathan Bealin, Cathal Devereux, free, and Conor Devitt.

After Malone's sending off, centre-forward Stephen Beatty briefly put Antrim in front with a 30-meter point, but allowed Wexford to gain a foothold in midfield where sub Daithin Waters was beginning to influence the game.

In fact, he transformed it with a moment of inspiration. After Waters linked up with Jonathan Bealin he placed a superb shot from 14-meters into the top left-hand corner of the net, his side 1-5 to 0-6 up.

Antrim didn't score for the next 12 minutes, but the home side hit further points, before a Kevin Quinn point kept the visitors in contention.

As Antrim sought out scores, they saw two-point attempts rebound off the posts but it was the Wexford defence that reacted quickest clearing their lines on both occasions. With Antrim increasing the pressure their over-reliance on the short hand-passing game inside the Wexford 45 left the home defence with an abundance of time to get players back behind the ball as they succeeded in keeping their goal intact.

Bealin frees kept Wexford in front while a Glen Murray sixty-fifth minute pointed free reduced the deficit to 1-19 to 0-9. Antrim fluffed of opportunities and it was Wexford who closed out the game, with a Bealin point in additional time.

Wexford scorers: D Waters 1-0; J Bealin (4f) 0-5; C Devitt, K O'Grady, C Devereux (f), B Brosnan, G Malone 0-1 each.

Antrim: R Murray (2f, 1 m) 0-4; P Gallagher 0-2; S Beatty, P McBride, K Quinn 0-1 each.

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