Irvinestown Wanderers 3 Enniskillen Athletic 1

Monday Night Football came to the Bawnacre Centre and it was Irvinestown Wanderers who shone brightest under the lights, picking up their first win of the season against newly promoted Enniskillen Athletic.

Although they picked up the three points it could have been a different outcome had Athletic converted any of the chances that fell to them in the opening 45 minutes, however, Wanderers striker Stephen Sheridan was a constant thorn in the visitor’s defence and he made the difference in the second half.

For Wanderers boss, Ryan Beacom he knew it was never going to be an easy encounter and admits if Athletic had taken their chances in the first half it could have been a different result.

“We were well aware of the challenge. We knew that it was going to be a competitive game and we had to match the aggression and workrate and hope our own quality would shine through.

“I think in the first half their midfield were on top of the game. We held on to ball too long, they surrounded us in numbers and we were unable to get Sherdy and Mason (Gary Maguire) into the game.

“At half time we went in, spoke about it and made one or two changes. And soon as the goal went in confidence grew and we got more of a foothold in the game.”

The game started with neither side able to impose their style on the game but it was the visitors who were shading proceedings marginally.

Athletic constantly tried the long ball over the top of the Irvinestown defence but on a hard 3G surface the bounce of the ball made it difficult to get it just right.

Some of the balls almost paid off and the home keeper, Jerome Carleton can count himself lucky as he raced out for two long balls, just about getting a hand to one, the other he missed and it looked like Calum Frempong had an easy tap in but Conor McGuigan got back in time to block it out for a corner.

William Simpson was also unlucky not to find the net from a Matty Holden corner as Carleton made a terrific one handed save.

At the other end, Irvinestown had a number of dangerous free kicks while Sheridan was proving a handful and he scuffed a shot wide from inside the box but there was noone who could break the deadlock for either side as the half finished scoreless.

The winners upped the intensity in the second half putting Athletic under increasing pressure and it finally paid off.

Just before the hour mark, a long ball forward could only be headed into the path of Sheridan and he drove to the edge of the box before firing into the bottom corner past Ryan McNulty in the Athletic goal, 1-0.

Wanderers looked the more likely as the Division One new boys struggled to find any sort of rhythm.

The home side doubled their lead and it was Sheridan again. A free kick swung into the box was headed to the unmarked Sheridan who found the roof of the net.

The points were sealed when substitute Ben Thompson raced onto a through ball from Gary Maguire to make it 3-0.

Athletic did not throw in the towel and they kept searching for a way back into the game.

Holden had a free kick superbly pushed around the post by Carleton before John Joe Strain pulled a goal back. Frimpong got on the end of a through ball to poke it past the Irvinestown keeper leaving Strain with the simplest of tasks.

The visitors almost had a second to set up a nervy finish but Philip Leonard’s header flew just over as the game finished 3-1.