Jess Gleeson goal secures historic UEFA win for Wexford Youths
Wexford Youths Women’s AFC got off to a winning start in their UEFA Women’s Champions League Qualifying Round group against Gintra-Universitetas in Kleczew, Poland, today.
Lithuanian side Gintra are the top seeds in the group so this victory thanks to Jess Gleeson’s 67th minute free-kick gioal puts Will Doyle’s side in pole position with fixtures to come against hosts Medyk Konin Thursday and Welsh outfit Cardiff Met on Sunday.
Wexford keeper Mary Rose Kelly was called into action in the 12th minute when she denied Ana Alekperova twice in quick succession.
Gintra keeper Greta Kaselytė was tested by Claire O’Riordan in the 31st minute and made a solid save then nine minutes later the same two players were involved once more with the Lithuanian keeper coming out on top again.
In the 44th minute Gintra had a big opportunity but once again Kelly made a crucial save to keep out a dangerous effort from Ange Nguessan.
In first half stoppage time Kelly’s goal was threatened again but this time Nguessan’s attempt narrowly missed the target.
After the break Wexford showed their quality and they duly took the lead through Jess Gleeson’s long range free-kick in the 67th minute after Carol Breen had been fouled for a free-kick 35 yards from the Gintra goal.
Youths pushed hard to extend their lead and in the 70th minute Kaselytė denied O’Riordan again. Linda Douglas also had an effort saved by the Gintra keeper two minutes later.
Kaselytė denied debut girl Emma Hansberry in the 75th minute as Youths continued to press for the decisive second goal.
Four minutes into injury-time Kelly’s class shown through once more as she denied Rita Akaffou after the same player’s initial free-kick has been only partially cleared.
“It was a fantastic result. We did well but they were very good too. It was a 50-50 game but we got the breaks,” said coach Will Doyle.
The goal was a long distance strike and nobody got a touch on it so we were delighted it went in. We do look to make sure deliveries like that are at least on target so we’re very pleased that’s what happened for us.
“Mary Rose Kelly made some good saves. All across our back four were excellent and there were a lot of big performances.
“We’re delighted we got the win. We would have settled for a draw but we’re delighted with the three points on a very warm day which was a test for our players.”
GINTRA: Kaselytė, Mikutaitė, Laetitia, Neverdauskaitė, Veličkaitė, Zubchyk, Alekperova, Akaffou, Nguessan, Elloh, Imanalijeva (Gailevičiūtė 84).
WEXFORD YOUTHS: Kelly, Gleeson, Kennedy, Rossiter, Sinnott, Murphy (Fahy 62), Hansberry, Frawley (Wall 83), Douglas, O’ Riordan (Cassin 78), Breen.
Wexford Youths’ UWCL Fixtures
UEFA Women’s Champions League, Qualifying Round, Group 7
Tuesday, August 11: Gintra Universitetas 0-1 Wexford Youths, Kleczew, Poland
Thursday, August 13: Wexford Youths v Medyk Konin, Konin, Poland, KO 5pm
Sunday, August 16: Cardiff Met v Wexford Youths, Kleczew, Poland, KO 4pm