Dundalk thrash Newtown in Conference League qualifier

Vinny Perth’s side salvage something from a difficult week with first leg rout of Welsh

Dundalk 4 Newtown 0

Dundalk can hardly be faulted, but this Europa Conference League qualifier looked precisely what it is - the bottom rung of Uefa’s football ladder.

Theoretically, the only way is up.

“Irish clubs shouldn’t be looking too far ahead of themselves,” said Vinny Perth, a few weeks into his second coming as manager. “We should be positive with any win in Europe at the moment. Tonight was a good result for that reason.”


Perhaps the latest virus outbreak in Newtown denied the Welsh more important players than the three Dundalk had to cope without. Whatever the reason for such a lopsided contest, the Lilywhites protected the “European brand” Perth spoke about this week as being vital to attracting international talent like Raivis Jurkovskis.

The Latvian fullback quickly realised that Newtown’s left flank was a leaky sieve. That’s where the rules of engagement were established as Dundalk eventually settled to score twice in the first half from crosses.

It did take 27 nervy minutes before Daniel Kelly’s ball to the back post was calmly finished by Michael Duffy.

The second goal, 12 minutes later, came off Darragh Leahy’s delivery finding the head of David McMillan. The Dubliner’s 12th European strike eases him past the record previously held by Glen Crowe.

Perhaps the San Marino referee’s tonsils were not up to a night of incessant whistling as plenty of heavy challenges were ignored.

Not that this mattered once Dundalk scored and Sonni Nattestad survived his sleepy response to a long ball that offered Jamie Breese a clear goal chance seconds after the interval.

It was also interesting to watch a Welsh club’s unswerving loyalty to their country’s 3-4-3 branded system. Regardless of what Dundalk showed them, they condensed in a clump of central bodies as William Patching and Patrick McEleney took control of midfield. Hence, all that space for crossing.

Patching eventually cut loose from the edge of the box to make it 3-0.

This brought Perth to life on the sideline as he the players to kill off the two legged tie.

Han Jeong-uh came off the bench to snatch a fourth with the very last touch of the match to make it near impossible to see progress being hindered during next Tuesday’s journey into the Severn valley.

“This was been the toughest week I have had at the club, ever,” Perth said of the Covid panic that spread through Oriel Park. “What we can’t do now is make seven, eight changes. We need to keep building.”

Dundalk: Abibi; Jurkovskis, Boyle (capt), Nattestad, Leahy; Patching (Zahibo 81), McEleney, Stanton, Duffy; Kelly (Han 75), McMillan (Midtskogen 81).

Newtown: Jones; C Williams (capt), Mills-Evans, Roberts, Evans; Davies (Jones 89), Rowland (Mcallister 68), Fletcher; Rushton (Downes 89), A Williams, Bresse (Hesden 89).

Referee: Barbeno Luca (San Marino)

Gavin Cummiskey

Gavin Cummiskey

Gavin Cummiskey is The Irish Times' Soccer Correspondent