Galway United made history as they defeated Wexford 4-0 to make it eight wins in a row to start their 2023 Airtricity League First Division campaign.
The Tribesmen scored on the stroke of half time through a David Hurley penalty before goals from wingers Francely Lomboto and Darren Clarke put the visitors out of sight, with Vincent Borden grabbing his fifth of the season to seal the victory in the final ten minutes.
The game kicked off with United immediately looking to create chances and within the opening three minutes some lovely link-up play between Ed McCarthy and Francely Lomboto led to McCarthy receiving the ball on the edge of the box, but his right footed effort curled just over the bar.
Moments later David Hurley looked to be in on goal after a great ball through, but as he looked to turn and take on the shot he was closed down and smothered well by Wexford goalkeeper Charlie Heffernan.
Just before the half hour mark, a cross from the left looked destined to find Stephen Walsh, the forward went down after what looked to be a push in the back, the ball was recycled out to the right and a cross from McCarthy found David Hurley in the area, but his header went just over the bar.
United continued to dominate proceedings, probing the Wexford defense with some neat attacking play while Wexford struggled to gain any sort of a foothold throughout the opening 45 minutes.
The Tribesmen were rewarded for their dominance just before half time as the referee awarded a penalty after a dangerous corner kick. David Hurley stepped up to the spot and struck his penalty hard and low into the bottom corner to give United a well-deserved half time lead.
Despite having minimal opportunities in the first half, Wexford came out much improved for the second half, having made a substitution at half time which saw James Crawford replaced by Aaron Doran.
The hosts saw much more of the ball in the opening exchanges of the second half and they created a great chance after 52 minutes as Aaron Dobbs was found in the box, he turned and shot on the half-volley, but his effort was well blocked and went wide of the post for a corner. The subsequent corner was met by substitute Doran at the near post, but his glancing header went just over the crossbar.
However, just as Wexford had their best spell of the game and their biggest chance, United broke and doubled their lead. The counterattack led to Francely Lomboto being played in down the left, his initial shot was saved but rebounded straight back to the winger who looped his shot over the helpless Heffernan to give United a 2-0 lead.
United showed their quality once again as they soaked up Wexford pressure over a five-minute period, counter-attacked, and added a third goal to truly kill the game and put it out of sight of the hosts. The Tribesmen cleared a Wexford corner and the ball fell to the feet of substitute Darren Clarke on the half-way line, he started a surging run down the left wing and drove a left footed shot low across goal and into the far bottom corner with 15 minutes left on the clock.
United gained complete control of the game after the third goal and it took just five minutes to add the fourth and final goal of the game. With 80 minutes gone, a dangerous corner bounced before Vincent Borden who met the ball well to drive a half-volley into the roof of the net to secure the three points for the visitors.
The final stages of the game saw United look to add a fifth, and a chance came to do so after a handball in the box from a corner to give Galway a second penalty of the game. Hurley stepped up once again, but his strike was well saved by Heffernan in goal.
The win puts United nine points clear at the top of the league and gives Caulfield’s men a piece of club history, making it their record eighth win in a row.
Manager John Caulfield spoke after the full-time whistle:
“They are always a dangerous team, so we have to be happy getting the three points.
“It’s our fifth away match, we’ve had great numbers travelling and it means a lot to the players, but more importantly it’s great for the supporters to come and see a performance, see goals, and see us win the match’.”
Wexford FC: C, Heffernan, B. Lynch, H. Douglas, E. Boyle, J. Tallon, J Crawford (A. Doran 46’), C. Piper, D. Levingston (K. Corbally 77’), M. Hanratty, D. Furlong (J. Adeyemo 71’), A. Dobbs (S. Fitzpatrick 77’).
Galway United: B. Clarke, C. O’Keeffe, R. Slevin (E. O’Connor 88’), K. Brouder, C. Horgan, E. McCarthy (M. Rowe 80’), C. McCormack (M. Nugent 80’), V. Borden, F. Lomboto (D. Clarke 61’), D. Hurley, S. Walsh (R. Manley 80’).
Next up, Galway United face Bray Wanderers at Eamonn Deacy Park on Friday, April 14th at 7:45pm.