Under-15 boys strike back to take points in Kerry
Kerry League 2 Wexford FC 3
Wexford staged a spirited comeback as they overcame Kerry in their first away SSE Airtricity Under-15 League game in Mounthawk Park on Monday.
The Slaneysiders had enjoyed the perfect start to their inaugural campaign in Gorey the week before, crushing Cobh Ramblers 9-0. What awaited the Wexford side after their long journey to Tralee was a much sterner test of character.
The opening stages seemed to go to plan for the early table-toppers as Cormoc Bruce and Evan Farrell threatened to break the deadlock as Wexford dominated possession and territory.
It was two sucker punches, right on the 15-minute mark, which arguably created the epic which the game would turn into.
With Kerry's first dangerous venture forward, Shane McGrath dribbled positively into the penalty area and was fouled by defender Kyle Scallan. Leo Ghaxa collected the ball and stuck his spot-kick into the right corner of Cian Browne's net.
Then, barely after the re-start, what should have been a routine piece of goalkeeping by Browne was miscontrolled, allowing Ghaxa to pick up the pieces and tap into an empty net. From nowhere, the Ferrycarrig side found themselves two down.
As the dangerous McGrath grew further into the game for the hosts, they played the remainder of the half on top, with McGrath and Fortunatus Ankomah spurning chances to extend the lead.
Wexford did send Kerry a reminder that they were still in a contest just before the break, as Scallan had a shot saved on the line while an unmarked Brian Byrne headed over.
Shifting Scallan into midfield and introducing James Dowling instantly changed the game after the re-start. Darragh Levingston's free from distance found its way past Dylan Doona just five minutes in and a wave of Wexford pressure followed.
Wexford had the ball in the net again in the 54th minute. Farrell's header found Byrne who held the ball up well before playing in Cian Kinlough, and he found a killer pass to James Dowling who finished low at the back post.
The winner was unquestionably the pick of the bunch as Wexford completed a remarkable turnaround.
Dowling's pressure won the ball back before Levingston found Scallan. Scallan played a final pass to Farrell in space and the midfielder unleashed a rocket from 25 yards which left Doona rooted to the spot as his right-footed strike flew into the top corner.
The result meant Wexford remained top after the second round of games and, alongside Limerick, they were the only two sides with their one hundred per cent records intact.
Wexford: Cian Browne; Seán O'Brien-Murphy, Kyle Scallan, Cormac Doyle, Shane Gibson; Graham O'Reilly, Darragh Levingston (capt.), Evan Farrell, Cian Kinlough, Cormac Bruce; Brian Byrne. Subs. (rolling) - Dylan Whelan, James Dowling, Brody Murphy, Darragh O'Donoghue, Rian Fitzpatrick, Darragh McGuire, David Murphy.
Kerry: Dylan Doona; Nosharwan Chaudhry, William Shine, Elliah Riordan, Ted Maloney; Evison Shallaku-Ramani, Daniel Okwute, Colin Walsh, Seán McGrath (capt.), Liam Collins; Leo Ghaxa. Subs. (rolling) - Fortunatus Ankomah, Seán Ryan, Cian Brosnan, Robert Vasiu, Philip Evans, Zac Behan, Gavin Doody.
Referee: Eoin Moynihan (Kerry).