Youths crushed by late goal
Derry City pounce for winner deep into added time
An absolute sickener - there's no other way to describe the outcome at a wet and windy Ferrycarrig Park on Saturday when Wexford Youths had a merited draw snatched from under their noses by high-flying Derry City in the last action of this SSE Airtricity Premier Division clash.
Wexford Youths 1 Derry City 2
It seemed like the home side had done enough to collect their second successive share of the spoils after erasing a one-goal deficit with a well-taken equaliser from Danny Furlong after great work down the right by substitute Eric Molloy in the 83rd minute.
Just 15 seconds of the three extra minutes announced were left when a free-kick was conceded in a dangerous area on the right, not long after Paul Murphy seemed to be clearly fouled at the other end but referee Graham Kelly thought otherwise.
Barry McNamee arrowed an enticing delivery to the far post where Rory Patterson got a solid connection on the ball, and his looping header went back across Graham Doyle's goal and ended up in the far corner of the net.
There was only time for the game to be re-started before the man in the middle blew for full-time, with the winner leaving Youths rooted to the bottom of the table after five outings.
It was another deeply frustrating outing for the newcomers whose constant concession of goals in the dying minutes is costing them dearly.
However, they might have been in a comfortable position before Saturday's action drew to a close were it not for the goalkeeping heroics of Gerard Doherty who made four magnificent stops to deny Paul Murphy and then Danny Furlong three times. Rory Patterson may have been the man to hammer the nail in Youths' coffin with that late winner, but Doherty more than anyone else ensured that the northerners continued their remarkable run which has seen them win four games on the bounce after an opening night loss in the north-west derby against Finn Harps.
Doherty was seen at his brilliant best as early as the third minute when he stood tall and denied Murphy after Ryan Delaney's long delivery was met with a slight touch from Furlong to his strike partner.
The corner count read 10-3 in favour of the visitors, with their first from Gareth McGlynn in the fourth minute hooked over by Niclas Vemmelund. Andy Mulligan didn't test Doherty with a weak shot before two more Derry corners were dealt with, while an attempted through ball by Danny Furlong to Andy Mulligan was intercepted by Harry Monaghan at the other end.
Fortunately, Gareth McGlynn was in an offside position in the 13th minute when danger threatened, with that incident sandwiched in between wasted crosses by Andy Mulligan and Ryan Delaney respectively.
Lee Grace got a vital touch to concede a corner that Paul Murphy headed clear after Ronan Curtis linked up with Barry McNamee, while Craig McCabe averted the danger from a free-kick before Grace dealt with another delivery from Curtis.
The second clearcut chance for Youths arrived in the 20th minute when Graham Doyle's long, wind-aided kick-out to the Ferrycarrig end was added to by Chris Kenny.
It fell for Danny Furlong and the home crowd's anticipation rose, but goalkeeper Doherty denied him and the subsequent corner from Paul Murphy was headed clear.
Furlong was offside after good work by Kenny who won a tackle and played a one-two with Murphy. Rory Patterson then shot high and over the bar at the other end before a four-minute delay ensued as running repairs were carried out to the net which had loosened from Graham Doyle's goal.
Danny Furlong had a penalty appeal ignored in the 38th minute when his run seemed to be blocked as he attempted to get on the end of an Andy Mulligan cross from the left.
Another threatening ball from Mulligan was cleared before Chris Kenny shot to the right and wide after Danny Ledwith teed him up.
A long free from Lee Grace nearly found Paul Murphy in the box before another Graham Doyle kick-out went all the way to Danny Furlong whose effort went left and missed the target.
And the third glorious chance of the half arrived in added time when Aidan Friel crossed from the right and, although the ball was slightly behind Furlong, he got a strong connection with a volley that crashed off the surface and up for Doherty to make a stunning save.
Danny Ledwith got too much distance in the corner which arose, while Friel cleared the danger when Ryan Delaney conceded one at the other end with a good tackle on Gareth McGlynn before half-time.
Ledwith dealt with an early Derry corner on the re-start and was unable to find a colleague from a free-kick into the box in the 51st minute.
And it looked like there was no way of beating the inspired Gerard Doherty between the Derry posts when he came to his side's rescue once again moments later.
Aidan Friel created the opening after nutmegging Aaron Barry on the right, and his perfect cross was met by Danny Furlong but the netminder somehow denied him with yet another stunning save.
Chris Kenny forced the sole Youths corner of the half, taken by Paul Murphy, with the ball cleared to Andy Mulligan whose shot broke into the path of Kenny, but his header was saved.
Danny Ledwith was booked before Derry City introduced Keith Ward on the left wing and moved Ronan Curtis to the right in the 57th minute.
A couple of corners from the visitors were defended before Ward fired a free-kick over the bar after Danny Ledwith committed a foul on the edge of the box.
Graham Doyle advanced smartly to cut out a Ronan Curtis pass to Barry McNamee before Ward was booked for a theatrical dive in the penalty area after a fair challenge by Craig McCabe.
Eric Molloy came on for Andy Mulligan and took up his position on the right wing, with Aidan Friel now on the left.
However, before the newcomer could work his magic, Youths fell behind to a quality goal in the 69th minute. Keith Ward squared the ball from the left for Barry McNamee whose clever flick teed it up for Conor McCormack, and the midfielder let fly with an inch-perfect shot which nestled in the top left corner of Graham Doyle's net.
Rory Patterson forced Doyle into a routine save as Derry looked to hammer home their advantage, but Youths were about to enjoy a bright spell as a Danny Furlong shot was blocked before he finally managed to beat the outstanding Gerard Doherty.
An Eric Molloy cross had been cut out comfortably before he had another go in the 83rd minute after doing extremely well to beat two men down the right.
It was a sweet low ball at the feet of Furlong, with the ace predator making no mistake this time to grab his first goal from open play in this league campaign after converting from the penalty spot eight days earlier in Dalymount Park.
Derry pressed again after a weak effort from substitute Craig Wall didn't trouble their 'keeper. Rory Patterson shot wide from a Conor McCormack delivery before Graham Doyle was equal to the danger after Barry McNamee sought a colleague when a shot seemed like the better option.
Two corners were dealt with before Doyle saved comfortably from a long-range Patterson effort after initially scuffing a clearance.
Youths would have happily settled for a draw at that stage, and they must have been alert to the dangers when that late free-kick was conceded given their unwanted habit of conceding late goals.
It still wasn't enough to prevent that worst case scenario though as Patterson pounced for a winner, leaving Youths still without a point on home soil as they prepare to meet Bray Wanderers in Ferrycarrig Park on Friday at 8 p.m.
Wexford Youths: Graham Doyle (capt.); Craig McCabe, Gary Delaney, Lee Grace, Ryan Delaney; Aidan Friel, Chris Kenny, Danny Ledwith, Andy Mulligan; Danny Furlong, Paul Murphy. Subs. - Eric Molloy for Mulligan (65), Craig Wall for Ledwith (78), Stephen Last for G. Delaney (83), also John Peare, Conor English, Conor O'Keeffe, Matt Connor.
Derry City: Gerard Doherty; Niclas Vemmelund, Ryan McBride (capt.), Aaron Barry, Dean Jarvis; Gareth McGlynn, Conor McCormack, Barry McNamee, Harry Monaghan, Ronan Curtis; Rory Patterson. Subs. - Keith Ward for McGlynn (57), Nathan Boyle for Curtis (76), also Shaun Patton, Aaron McEneff, Jordan Allan, Patrick McClean, Ryan Doherty.
Referee: Graham Kelly (Cork).