Furlong fires Youths to top
Last-gasp winner crucial
Danny Furlong fired Wexford Youths to the top of the SSE Airtricity League Division 1 with a winner two minutes into added time in Stradbrook against Cabinteely on Friday.
Wexford Youths 3 Cabinteely 2
Shane Keegan's men were just three additional minutes away from their first league draw of the season when Andy Mulligan got away on the left wing for the second time in the space of a few moments.
Earlier, when the wide man broke clear he chose to pick out Furlong at the back post, rather than shooting himself, only for the Rosslare Strand native to somehow fire his shot into the side-netting of Evan Whelan's goal.
However, Furlong didn't make any mistake second time around as he met Mulligan's low cross at the near post and poked the winner into the roof of the Cabinteely net to send the large travelling crowd into delirium.
The goal put Youths two points clear of Finn Harps at the top of the table after the Donegal men lost their third game in a row in the league, this time 3-2 away to Shelbourne.
It's the first time in their history that the Ferrycarrig boys have been at the summit this late in the season, and with just 13 games remaining there is a real belief that they can go on and take the title.
This could prove to be a massive three points in that quest. It wasn't their best performance of the season, far from it, as they stuttered for much of the second-half and allowed a 1-0 advantage to turn into a 2-1 deficit.
Youths took the lead in the second minute when Eric Molloy picked up the ball without being challenged 25 yards from goal, took his time and picked his spot in the right corner of the hosts' net.
Two James Dermody crosses created two chances for Furlong but he was reaching for the first and headed wide while the second, arriving on the half volley, wasn't a crisp enough finish and was easily held by Whelan.
Cabinteely were roaring for a penalty when Sudiq Oguntola went down in the box but referee Rhona Daly waved away appeals. The Roscommon official dismissed claims at the other end in the 29th minute when Molloy went down after mis-controlling Whelan's spill from Lee Grace's free.
A last-ditch challenge by Craig McCabe at one end and a Furlong header over the bar at the other ensured the score remained 1-0 at the break, but the home side were level 13 minutes after the re-start when Ger Pender controlled John McKeown's pass and coolly curled past Doyle.
Pender turned provider for Oguntola to make it 2-1 with a clever finish moments after Aidan Keenan was carried off with a nasty-looking injury. It shook the visitors into life with new signing John Peare particularly impressive in midfield in the latter stages.
He was involved in plenty and put the cross in for David Doyle to volley to the net, although there was a suspicion of a deflection off Gary Delaney on the way in. It was all Youths as Cabinteely tired and they finally got their reward when Furlong pounced for the winner in added time.
Next up on Friday night is a home tie with Waterford United, who sat bottom of the table after Youths victory. That game is followed by a trip to Cork to face Cobh Ramblers eight days later.
Wexford Youths: Graham Doyle; Craig McCabe, Gary Delaney, Stephen Last, James Dermody; Peter Higgins, Lee Grace; Eric Molloy, Aidan Keenan, Andy Mulligan; Danny Furlong. Subs. - John Peare for Higgins (49), David Doyle for Keenan, inj. (70), also Ryan Delaney, Paul Brennan, Dean Broaders, Gavin Dowling.
Cabinteely: Evan Whelan; Daniel Campbell, Victor Ekanem, Kevin Knight, Jamie McGlynn; Shane O'Neill, Aaron Brilly, John McKeown, Stephen Hanley; Ger Pender, Sudiq Oguntola. Subs. (not used) - Josh Quinlivan, Jamie Broderick, Ross Broderick, Darren Clarke, Seán Hyland.
Referee: Rhona Daly (Roscommon).