Late Kehoe leveller earns Wexford point
Wexford shared the spoils with their Dublin opponents courtesy of substitute Aaron Kehoe's 86th-minute equaliser during Sunday's Oscar Traynor Trophy match in Ferrycarrig Park.
Wexford 1 A.U.l. Dublin 1
Daniel Murphy had put A.U.L. ahead just eight minutes earlier but Kehoe rescued a point after capitalising on Eoin Rhodes' knock-down from a Wexford free.
Football is often described as a game of two halves and that was certainly the case in this encounter.
The opening half belonged to the home side.
The first chance of many fell to Rhodes who side-footed over the bar from twelve yards after Juanjo Lopez pressured A.U.L's defence into an error.
Four minutes later Wexford were nearly in again, this time Lopez himself, but his effort also flew carelessly over the crossbar.
The best phase of play for Wexford in the first period came at the midway point in the half.
Ryan Mahon's cross from distance was met with a flicked header by Lopez which cannoned back off the post and was cleared to safety.
From the clearance, Mahon regained the ball and found Paudi Cullen. Cullen got the ball out of his feet and shot low to the left but Craig Reilly in goal did well to stop.
With both teams playing a lone striker, the difference between them was the home side's ability to support their forward man.
This proved evident again as the half closed, as Mahon and Cullen both fired shots off target.
Just as Wexford fully controlled the first 45 minutes, it was Dublin's turn for the second period.
Almost instantly from the re-start, A.U.L. were firing. Graham Curran and Stephen Cantwell went close before a cross from Aiden O'Sullivan fell at the feet of Mark Higgins who blasted over from the penalty spot.
Lee Walker between the sticks for Wexford was called into action moments later when he dived well to his right to deny a rocket from A.U.L. midfielder Aaron Humphries.
Dublin went close again in the 72nd minute, this time from a corner-kick. Erick Brown pulled away from his marker but could only head over from Karl Young's delivery.
A.U.L. did break the deadlock six minutes later. Humphries picked up the ball in midfield and sprayed a through ball to substitute Daniel Murphy.
Murphy found a yard of space from his marker and sidefooted across Walker and into the bottom right corner to give the travelling side the lead.
Dublin nearly doubled that advantage moments later but Walker was out quickly off his line to deny Cantwell.
Wexford drew level with just four minutes left on the clock.
A wide free swung towards the back post was met by Rhodes, and he headed back across the goalmouth and Kehoe drilled into the gaping net.
A.U.L. almost dealt the home side a sucker-punch deep into injury time but Walker came to the rescue once again with a superb one-handed save to deny Dean Gibbons' volley.
Yet, Wexford held on for a deserved draw, and they now await U.C.F.L. in their next game in three weeks' time.
Wexford: Lee Walker, Keith Kearney, Ryan Mahon, Anthony Russell (capt.), Ian Sinnott, Alan Rhodes, Ryan Nolan, Seán Culleton, Juanjo Lopez, Paudi Cullen, Eoin Rhodes. Subs. - Conor Bruce for Nolan (58), Aaron Kehoe for Culleton (68), also Pa O'Shea, David Purcell, Gareth McCurtain, Gary McClean, A.J. Lehane.
A.U.L. Dublin: Craig Reilly, Aiden O'Sullivan, Graham Curran, Jason Reilly, Eric Browne, Aaron Humphries, Dean Gibbons (capt.), Karl Young, Stephen Cantwell, Gareth Arkins, Mark Higgins. Subs. - Daniel Murphy for Arkins (72), also Anthony Hewitt, Wayne Waldron, Calvin Douglas, Gerard Carroll, Darren Brazil, Ciaran Brizzell.
Referee: Darren Ennis (Wexford).