Town hit All Blacks for six
SOCCER LEINSTER YOUTHS CUP FOURTH ROUND
Arklow Town 6, All Blacks 0: Arklow Town Youths turned on the style at Bridgewater Centre Park in their eagerly anticipated Leinster Youths Cup fourth round clash at the weekend against a fancied All Blacks side from Wexford.
Due to the recent spell of inclement weather the fixture had twice been postponed and this backlog of fixtures could yet scupper Town’s assault on numerous fronts for silverware this season.
The visitors arrived in Arklow with a respected reputation having beaten a strong Home Farm side in their previous outing. Town themselves had advanced to the fourth round on the back of an excellent win over Dublin side Rangers AFC, so a keenly fought contest was anticipated.
The opening exchanges were tight, with Arklow seeking to create down either flank. The home side etched out a number of half chances, but all were spurned.
A Paul Werder cross found Stephen O’Neill in a central position but O’Neill’s header glanced wide and that was followed with Daniel Ledwith seeing a firm header striking the All Blacks post after an excellent cross from Werder.
In the 20th minute O’Neill again went close, getting on the end of a Ledwith cross to force the Wexford keeper into a fine save. All Blacks then sensed an opportunity to score against the run of play and pressed Town for a short spell.
However, Arklow, superbly marshalled at the back by James Scallan, were in no mood to concede and it was Scallan himself who thought he had given Town the lead but he was adjudged to have handled the ball before firing home. Seven minutes later, Town were finally rewarded for their constant pressure, with Daniel Ledwith getting on the end of a Jonathan Kelty cross to slot home from close range.
Town made the perfect start in the second half with Stephen O’Neill pushing through the keeper’s legs to double Arklow’s lead after, again, excellent play from Paul Werder.
The game as a contest was put beyond the Wexford side when Shane Murray, enjoying a great game in midfield alongside Clive Crammond, switched play as Arklow pressed forward. Paul Werder was afforded the freedom of the park and his unselfish play allowed Stephen O’Neill, from five yards, to net his second and Town’s third.
Despite All Black’s willingness to play an attractive brand of football, a fourth Arklow goal almost straight from the restart sealed their fate. Shane Murray broke through the middle, finding Jonathan Kelty and the Arklow man shot home low into the corner.
The rout continued two minutes later after Jack Tim Murphy, introduced as a substitute and operating on the left flank, found Paul Werder six yards out and he placed home, a deserved reward for his work ethic on the day.
Substitute Darragh Culleton went close late on, getting on the end of a Shane Murray cross, but his headed effort smacked off the crossbar. Culleton was not to be denied though, as two minutes later, he got on the end of a cross from the tireless Werder after Werder had beaten four defenders with a mazy run.
Town’s win sees them advance to the quarter finals of the Leinster Youth Cup and a tough assignment away at Sheriff YC this Sunday.
Arklow Town's Stephen O'Neill in action against All Blacks.