Honours even in U-17 clash
Youths and Bray scoreless
Wexford Youths will be a little disappointed after failing to pick up more than a draw in their latest outing in the SSE Airtricity Under-17 League Southern Elite Section in Ferrycarrig Park on Sunday.
Wexford Youths 0 Bray Wanderers 0
Bray Wanderers, who made the trip down the N11, came into the game in a woeful run of form, losing their last five league games after starting the season with six wins from eight. That kind of run brings baggage and their lack of confidence was evident, despite a bright start.
The visitors knocked the ball around well for 15 minutes. Their passing was crisper than a Youths side which was looking to pressure the ball up the field. However, apart from a powerful shot that was straight at Adam Dempsey, they didn't threaten to take the lead.
Then things changed, and it happened quickly. All it took was one hopeful Callum Broaders punt into the box that Jack Henry spilled behind his endline.
Ciarán Murphy swung the corner into the box and while Henry made a stunning, stretching save from Jack Brazzill's header, Bray were never the same team thereafter.
Henry actually injured himself making that stop and was forced off shortly after. His replacement would go on to have a superb afternoon. With Wexford now bossing the game, Adham Masoud became a real factor, giving the visiting defence a torrid time.
Everything good was coming through the Youths attacker and it was no surprise that he came closest to breaking the deadlock as the half wore on. Again it was Murphy with the dinked ball into a dangerous area, left of the penalty spot. Masoud caught the volley well but Ryan Brown made a superb save.
From the resulting corner Masoud volleyed over the crossbar. Then, just before half-time, Cian Doyle got on the end of a Murphy dead-ball but headed wide. While Dylan Thornton had a sighter moments after the re-start, Wexford went close again a minute later.
This time it was Sam O'Neill with the perfect through ball for Danny Doyle. He was onto it in a flash, one-on-one with Brown, but the Bray stopper won the battle, getting down low to smother the shot.
The summer temperatures were eating away at both sides and chances dried up for a while as the game slowed.
Callum Broaders hit the crossbar with a long-range free but, most likely due to tiredness, the reaction from the hosts, when the ball bounced back into the box, was slow.
As limbs tire space tends to open up. Masoud sent Danny Doyle clean through with nine minutes remaining but again Brown won the one-on-one battle as the Youths striker flashed his shot off target.
A Bray smash-and-grab nearly came to fruition three minutes later when lively substitute Luke Somers got away on the right wing, cut inside and shot across Adam Dempsey, only to see the ball rebound out off the foot of the post.
Referee Derek Campion got so, so lucky deep in added time when Edward Dunbar was clearly dragged down in the box from a Murphy corner. As play continued amidst mass appeals, Wexford themselves brought the late linesman's flag to the attention of the referee.
Hoping it was to signal the infringement that everyone else saw, Youths were left disappointed when they discovered the flag was for the ball going out of play from the corner. The draw leaves Wexford ninth in the table, facing into a week's break before they visit Kerry on August 7.
Wexford Youths: Adam Dempsey (capt.); Sam O'Neill, Cian Larkin, Callum Broaders, Jack Brazzill; Ciarán Murphy, Craig O'Reilly, Cian Doyle, Luke O'Neill; Adham Masoud, Danny Doyle. Subs. - Mikey Carroll for O'Reilly (65), Edward Black for C. Doyle (73), Stephen Kearns for L. O'Neill (85), also Paddy Barron, Ciarán Sheil.
Bray Wanderers: Jack Henry; Aaron Malone, Kieran Butler (capt.), Jack Byrne, Andy Lyons; Evan White, Dylan Thornton, Páraic Gilshenan, Michael Gardiner; Conor Cummins, Brandon Kavanagh. Subs. - Ryan Brown for Henry, inj. (24), Luke Somers for White (78), Andy Doolin for Kavanagh (87), also Cian Gilson.
Referee: Derek Campion.