Shelbourne 0-2 Town
Saturday, 6th Jul 2013 18:57
Two goals from Daryl Murphy shortly after half-time saw the Blues to a 2-0 victory over Shelbourne in their first pre-season friendly at Tolka Park, Dublin. Town fielded a different team in each half with trialists Dean Gerken and Dan Seaborne involved after the break.
Town boss Mick McCarthy was amongst those absent from a sunny Tolka Park, along with skipper Carlos Edwards, who is with Trinidad and Tobago at the CONCACAF Gold Cup in the US, Paul Taylor, who is taking his recovery from his foot injury steadily, and Jay Emmanuel-Thomas, whose proposed swap move to Bristol City is still under discussion.
The Blues, wearing their new home kit, started the game with Scott Loach in goal, Elliott Hewitt at right-back, Aaron Cresswell on the left and Luke Chambers and Tyrone Mings at the centre of the defence.
Cole Skuse made his first appearance in a Town shirt in the middle of midfield alongside Anthony Wordsworth with first-year pro Mark Timlin on the right and Josh Carson on the left, although the pair switched over at times. Michael Chopra partnered Frank Nouble up front.
The Blues dominated from the off against a very young Shelbourne side – the current table-proppers face Drogheda in a League of Ireland game tomorrow – and came close to going in front in the fifth minute when Nouble headed Aaron Cresswell’s freekick from the right just wide at the far post when he probably should have scored.
Two minutes later, Wordsworth struck a low shot from distance but failed to trouble home keeper Ger Hanley.
The Blues continued to dominate and in the 13th minute a mazy dribble down the middle by Nouble ended with Carson hitting a shot which keeper Hanley did well to save. Timlin was adjudged to have committed a foul as he looked to get in a rebound.
Michael Chopra came close to opening his goals account in the 21st minute from a Carson cross from the left but the striker went through his shot too early and the ball flew wide.
Shelbourne’s first effort on goal wasn’t until the 35th minute when Aaron Robinson hit a speculative strike from distance which failed to trouble the underemployed Loach. On 37 Timlin hit a low shot but Hanley claimed easily.
Town went closer to going in front a minute later when Wordsworth crossed perfectly from the left and Hanley did well to push over Nouble’s goal-bound header.
The Blues were again near to an opening goal in the 40th minute when Nouble played in Wordsworth on the left of the area but Hanley was out quickly to block as the ex-Colchester man looked to flick the ball past him.
The home side almost took the lead very much against the run of play in the 43rd minute when Dylan Connolly curled a freekick from the edge of the box towards the top corner which Loach pawed away for a corner.
That was the final chance of an entertaining half dominated by the Blues, who on the balance of play and chances ought to have been well in front. Connolly’s late freekick, however, might have given the home side a surprise lead.
As the teams left the field, the Blues’ second half side – including Jay Tabb who had been missed off the teamsheet – were warming up.
Trialist Dean Gerken took over in goal with youngsters Kyle Hammond and David October at right-back and left-back respectively. Luke Hyam and Amir Berkane were in the centre of midfield with Tabb on the left and Byron Lawrence on the right. Daryl Murphy and David McGoldrick were up front.
The Blues were in front within a minute of the restart. McGoldrick closed down a defender in the corner on the left and the ball was played back to keeper Hanley, who took too heavy a touch and ended up hitting the ball off the on-rushing Murphy and into the net.
Shels came close next, Town first taking a while to clear the ball from their area, then half-time sub Aaron Ash hitting a strike which flew just wide of Gerken’s left post.
But it was soon Town who were back on the offensive, Smith heading over from a Lawrence corner, then McGoldrick twisted and turned before hitting a shot just wide.
Murphy netted his and the Blues’ second of the afternoon in the 52nd minute, guiding Lawrence’s cross from the left past Hanley from six yards.
The Irishman, finally a permanent Town player after three loan spells, almost completed his hat-trick soon afterwards after being played in by McGoldrick but Adam O’Connor put in an important saving challenge.
Gerken was first called into action in the 55th minute making an impressive low stop down to his right from Ash. McGoldrick had the ball in the net soon after but having strayed offside.
Ash threatened again in the 57th minute, Seaborne blocking, then from the resultant corner Gerken saved from Ryan Robinson.
On 64 the impressive Ash took the ball past the stumbling Seaborne on the edge of the Town box but the move came to nothing. Three minutes later Gerken saved Matt Taylor’s 20-yard shot down to his left.
McGoldrick forced Hanley into a save with a 25-yard curler, then Hammond, the pick of the young players involved, almost sent Murphy through on goal from deep. On 72 Murphy headed wide.
Hyam almost netted a rare goal in the 77th minute when he broke into the area on the left and hit a shot which Shelbourne sub keeper Nathan Murphy saved.
Seven minutes from the end McGoldrick screwed a shot wide after good work from Murphy, then Lawrence curled past the post from the edge of the box.
Town were showing a tendency to want to walk the ball into the net but on 88 October should have made it 3-0 when teed up by McGoldrick not far outside the six-yard box but the keeper managed to block.
After a superb run from Hammond had been halted by what looked to be a bodycheck on the edge of the box, referee Tom Connolly blew the final whistle.
The Blues had dominated from start to finish against the young Shelbourne side and probably should have scored more than just the two goals, although Shels will feel they had one or two chances with both Loach and Gerken making saves.
It was difficult to learn too much about either trialist – although Gerken made two good stops – given Town’s control of the game.
While the absent Mick McCarthy and Terry Connor will be pleased to have won, they won’t be particularly concerned with the match mainly a fitness exercise at the end of the week training at Carton House.
MK Dons boss Karl Robinson – whose team are in Ireland for friendlies of their own - and ex-Blues keeper Shane Supple were amongst a small crowd mainly made up of Town supporters.
Town first half: Loach, Hewitt, Cresswell, Chambers, Mings, Skuse, Timlin, Wordsworth, Nouble, Chopra, Carson.
Town second half: Gerken, Hammond, Smith, Seaborne, October, Lawrence, Hyam, Berkane, McGoldrick, Tabb, Murphy.
Shelborne: Hanley, Gannon, McGlynn, O’Connor, Tobin, Robinson, Doyle, McGarne, Walsh, Taylor, Connolly. Subs: Murphy, Hamilton, Desond, Corrigan, Molloy, Robinson, Ash, Farrell, Mooney, Byrne, Weldon, Birnsumba. Referee: Tom Connolly. Att: Not very many.
Photo: Action Images
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