Shelburne hit back
Fancied Town lose three-goal lead
Hosts Shelburne came back from 3-0 down to claim a point in a fractious Wexford and District Schoolboys Soccer Under-15 Division 2A tie in Ballywilliam on Saturday.
Shelburne 3 Enniscorthy Town 3
League leaders Enniscorthy looked to be on their way to a comfortable victory when they raced into a three-goal lead early in the second-half, but they completely lost their focus and paid the price.
And a hugely heavy price it could turn out to be. Town led Cloughbawn by six points coming into the game but had played two games more. The initiative is now with the challengers, who have won five on the bounce, although the sides do meet again before season's end.
The visitors completely dominated the first-half but somehow went in at the break deadlocked. Kyle Lynch was almost unstoppable down the left, and he got away and tested the excellent James Rossiter within two minutes.
Then Town hit the woodwork twice in four minutes. D.J. Murphy headed Oumair Rauf's free-kick onto the crossbar in the fifth minute. That was soon followed by Ewen Kennedy cracking the frame of the goal from the edge of the area.
Chance after chance continued to come and go for Enniscorthy and they must have wondered at the interval if it was just going to be one of those days. Those fears were allayed somewhat when Lee Sludds found Murphy who outmuscled the last defender and opened the scoring three minutes after the break.
One soon became two. Rossiter was able to save the initial shot, an absolute rocket from Lynch, but there was nothing he could do to deny Lee Sludds from netting the rebound.
When Lynch was fouled and Rauf converted the resulting penalty to make it 3-0, the game looked to be drifting to a conclusion.
Indeed, even when Seán Moran was caught on the knee for a penalty at the other end, and Jamie O'Rourke converted the spot-kick, it still felt like a mere consolation. Shelburne had other ideas and upped the tempo.
A flashpoint in midfield, in which Oumair Rauf reacted angrily after being fouled, possibly after something was said in his direction, resulted in a mini-fracas. It might have had some connection to the scenes that followed the full-time whistle, after which Rauf was shown a red card for violent conduct.
On the pitch, with nine minutes remaining Moran headed a Conor Lyng right wing corner past Victory Onwubiko to make it 3-2. Moments later Aaron McManus was drilled, just inside the area, and O'Rourke kept his cool to level the scores.
Enniscorthy tried to find the intensity that got them the lead in the first place but never really went close to getting the winner. They now sit seven points clear of Cloughbawn with everything still to play for at the summit.
Shelburne United: James Rossiter; Eoin Rodgers, Conor Redmond, Eoin McAuliffe, Eoin Doyle; Daniel Heaphy, Seán Moran (capt.), Conor Lyng, Dylan Moran; Jamie O'Rourke, Gary Porter. Subs. (rolling) - Diarmuid Somers, Shane Cullen, Aaron McManus, Oisín Cashin.
Enniscorthy Town: Victory Onwubiko; Jamie O'Rourke, Jake O'Rourke (capt.), Keane Byrne, Ewen Kennedy; Lee Sludds, Danny Breen, Oumair Rauf, Kyle Lynch; Kallan Murphy, D.J. Murphy. Subs. (rolling) - Joseph Akyenmi, Mikey Webster, Alahandro Fustiac, Ryan Balase, Jack Kehoe.
Referee: Peter O'Rourke.