Kerry FC suffer their biggest home defeat as Wexford wallop them for six goals

Aaron Dobbs scores four for Slaneysiders as Kerry barely trouble Wexford FC with underwhelming performance at muted Mounthawk Park

Sean McGrath and Leo Gaxha, right, look to get inside the Wexford FC defence during their SSE Airtricity First Division game at Mounthawk Park on Fridayb evening. Photo by Adam Kowalczyk

Paul BrennanKerryman

SSE AIRTRICITY LEAGUE OF IRELAND FIRST DIVISION

Kerry FC 0

Wexford FC 6

Kerry FC tumbled to their biggest home defeat of the season – and second biggest in all – as they were crushed by six goals from a ruthless Wexford FC side that showed huge improvement from the team that struggled to a 2-1 win- over the league’s newcomers in Ferrycarrig Park on St Patrick’s Day.

Ten weeks on it was Aaron Dobbs’ Day, with the Wexford striker filling his boots with four goals, his first just before half time to make it 2-0 at the break, then completing his hat trick in the 73rd minute to make it 5-0, and finally compounding a miserable night for Kerry with an injury-time header to make it the joy of six for the visitors.

There is a familiar pattern to these games now, and not one that a markedly flat home support are enjoying or, indeed, able to break the team free from. Invariably Kerry start on the back foot, the opposition almost always settling into their stride first, creating one or two early chances. Kerry then get a foothold in the game, busy themselves around the middle of the park, but struggle to create meaningful penetration in the opposition box, less so any clear-cut chances. And then the sucker-punch arrives.

On Friday evening at home to Wexford – a Wexford team sitting in eighth position on 15 points coming into the game – it was more of the same. Inside the first 10 minutes the visitors had Danny Furlong flash a header just wide of the goal in the third minute, and Brandon McCann fizzing a low shot at goal in the 10th minute that goalkeeper Aaron O’Sullivan had to get down to quickly to gather.

Kerry, when they did eventually settle in their rhythm, had Rob Vasiu carry the ball past a couple of opponents on the left wing but then overran the ball over the end line. An all too fleeting moment of Kerry on the front foot. In the 13th minute Sean McGrath tried to find Ronan Teahan at the edge of the box but overcooked his pass. The rarest of forays inside the 18-yard box.

And that was, in essence, how the game went: Wexford smoother on the ball, clearer of thought, more solid in defence and more cutting in attack. And Kerry? Everything was just a little more laboured, every tackle, every pass, every idea needing a little more effort to execute.

The home side had a little period of dominance between the 20th and 30th minutes, McGrath having their first proper chance when set up by a clever flick from Nathan Gleeson but the midfielder’s shot was always rising too high.

A minute later Gleeson, Leo Gaxha and McGrath combined well on the edge of the square to create a half chance for Gleeson to attack, but Wexford’s McCann made the block, picking up a bloodied nose for his troubles.

In the 25th minute McGrath rolled the ball through for Gleeson to run on to, but he couldn’t catch it right and his shot flew wide. And that was pretty much the extent of what Kerry created. For the entirety of the game.

In the meantime, Wexford were just winding up for the kill shot. On the half hour Corban Piper headed over the top, but three minutes later the inevitable away goal came. Benjamin Lynch floated his free kick to the edge of the box, Dobbs knocked it back across the area and Furlong had an easy enough tap in from close range past O’Sullivan.

Seven minutes later Wexford doubled their lead, Dobbs playing a neat one-two with Furlong before the former rolled a low show past the goalkeeper, the ball taking the slightest touch off Samuel Aladesanusi on the way through.

Two-nil down at half time, it already felt there was no way back for a Kerry side being outplayed, and the second half was one long 45-minute purple patch from the team in that colour.

The Kerry players huddle up just before kick-off against Wexford FC

Furlong and McCann fired in early warning shots – O’Sullivan having to save from the former – but then in the 50th minute, lest Kerry had any notions of a renaissance, Furlong made it 3-0 after a defensive mix-up between Aladesanusi and Kevin Williams that saw the ball drop to the Wexford striker for the easiest of finishes from on the penalty spot.

Just before the hour mark it was 4-0, Dobbs getting his second from a neat flick at the near post from James Crawford’s corner.

It was all Wexford now, the Slaneysiders doing as they wished, Kerry literally chasing shadows as the floodlights came on, as well as five Kerry subs in a nine-minute period, with manager Billy Dennehy desperately trying to rescue something, anything, from the ruins of another crushing defeat.

As the game moved into the final quarter, Kerry heads were visibly fried, and another miscommunication at the back – Vasiu and substitute Graham O’Reilly – a Wexford native – getting their wires crossed to allow Dobbs intercept the ball and cut through for another easy finish from near the penalty spot.

Kerry tried to press on and mine some scintilla of a consolation from the game, but bar a couple of scrappy forays into the Wexford box – with Noel Heffernan never called on to make a meaningful save for the visitors – the home side we as toothless in attack as they have been all season.

Wexford’s own substitutions added more impetus to their team and when Darragh Levingston’s sharp shot drew a fine fingertip save from O’Sullivan at the expense of a corner, his brother Conor Levingston floated in an inviting corner kick with Dobbs rising unchallenged to power in his fourth and his team’s sixth goal in the 92nd minute.

After back to back home games, which yielded nothing more than an aggregate 8-0 defeat, Kerry FC head to Donegal next week to face a Finn Harps team that won 3-0 away to Treaty United to end a four-game losing streak. It doesn’t get any easier.

KERRY FC: Aaron O’Sullivan, Cian Barrett, Samuel Aladesanusi, Kevin Williams, Robert Vasiu, Togor Silong, Sean McGrath, Ronan Teahan, Leonardo Gaxha, Nathan Gleeson, Ryan Kelliher. Subs: Graham O’Reilly for T Silong (56), Alex Ainscough for C Barrett (56), Stephen McCarthy for L Gaxha (65), Kennedy Amechi for R Kelliher (65), Cianan Cooney for N Gleeson (65).

WEXFORD FC: Noel Heffernan, Reece Webb, Ethan Boyle, James Crawford, Benjamin Lynch, Corban Piper, Brandon McCann, Aaron Dobbs, Kian Corbally, Danny Furlong, Mark Hanratty. Subs: Karl Chambers for M Hanratty (inj, 14), Darragh Livingston for B McCann (68), Conor Livingston for D Furlong (73), Matthew Dunne for J Crawford (73)

Referee: Marc Lynch

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