Dundalk players celebrate their progression to the next round of the Europa Conference League following a 1-0 away win over Welsh side Newtown. Pic: Gareth Everett/Sportsfile
Newtown AFC 0-1 Dundalk FC
Dundalk FC are into the second qualifying round of the Europa Conference League following a comfortable 1-0 win over Welsh side Newtown AFC at Park Hall Stadium.
Michael Duffy’s 52nd-minute goal gave Vinny Perth’s side a 5-0 aggregate-win and set up a second-qualifying-round meeting against either Levadia Tallinn or St Joseph’s FC.
Despite losing 4-0 at Oriel Park just five days earlier, Newtown started brightly without ever really troubling Dundalk goalkeeper Alessio Abibi, who has looked assured of late.
Dundalk, who were unchanged, weren’t long settling into the game, and had their first attempt on 20 minutes when Newtown stopper David Jones saved Will Patching’s shot.
The Newtown goalkeeper had to save again not long after that, comfortably dealing with Duffy’s effort before at the other end, James Rowland scuffed his half-volley wide.
Daniel Kelly spurned the best chance of a largely uneventful first half when he blazed over the top from Duffy’s reverse-pass, as the two sides went in scoreless at the break.
Patrick McEleney, who will join Derry City at end of the current season, almost gave Dundalk the lead in spectacular fashion four minutes after the restart, catching Jones off guard with a quick free-kick from just inside his own half which came off the post.
Dundalk took the lead on 52 minutes through a quick counter-attack when Kelly played in Duffy, who ran half the length of the pitch before comfortably slotting beyond Jones.
5-0 up on aggregate, Dundalk were coasting, and McEleney’s speculative effort went over before Sonni Nattestad headed straight at Jones from Patching’s inswinging corner.
Kelly missed a great chance to further enhance Dundalk’s lead when he missed the target from close range after getting on the end of a beautiful McEleney pass over the top.
Newtown’s best chances came when Nicholas Rushton forced a magnificent fingertip save from Abibi, and from the resulting corner, he saved again from Jamie Breese.
Dundalk looked to equal their biggest ever away win in Europe (2-0), but substitute Ole Erik Midtskogen skied his attempt over after some good work from Han Jeong-Woo.
Newtown AFC: David Jones; Craig Williams, Kieran Mills-Evans, Callum Roberts, Naim Arsan; Alexander Fletcher, James Rowland (Nicholas Rushton 61), George Hughes (Sean McAllister 86); James Davies (Jordan Evans 73), Aaron Williams, Lifumpa Mwandwe (Jamie Breese 73)
Subs not used: Kham Stevenson (gk), David Terence Rose (gk), Shane Sutton, Dylan Downs, Ben Speake, Rhys Hesden, Alfie Jones
Dundalk FC: Alessio Abibi; Raivis Jurkovskis, Andy Boyle, Sonni Nattestad, Darragh Leahy (Val Adedokun 57); Sam Stanton; Daniel Kelly (Ryan O’Kane 69), Will Patching, Patrick McEleney (Han Jeong-Woo 77), Michael Duffy (Wilfried Zahibo 57); David McMillan (Ole Erik Midtskogen 69)
Subs not used: Peter Cherrie (gk), Niall Brady (gk), Mark Hanratty
Referee: Andrei Chivulete (Romania)
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