Basement finish for Under-19 soccer side
Bray Wanderers 1 Wexford FC 1
Wexford FC will end the SSE Airtricity League Under-19 Southern Elite League season on the bottom of the table after they drew with fellow strugglers Bray Wanderers in the Wayside Academy on Sunday.
The visitors trailed to a Joshua Ojelabi goal after a gripping first-half but were able to salvage a draw with a rare Yaw Aboagye strike after the interval.
Indeed, on the balance of chances in the second-half they might have even expected to nab victory.
The Ferrycarrig Park side have really struggled to pick up points this season but their troublesome year has almost been matched by last season's Under-19 manager, Tom O'Connor, and his Wanderers side, who are sitting just one spot higher.
It was therefore probably no real surprise that the first-half wasn't great fare. Wexford struggled to assert themselves and their plight was made all the more difficult by a string of bizzare refereeing decisions, to such an extent that manager James Quinn was sent-off for disputing one such call.
James Vance went close for the hosts in the ninth minute when he fired into the side-netting, Danny Bruce looped a header over the crossbar at the other end, and Liam Berry was called back for a marginal offside when clean through on goal as the half wore on.
However, the home side did take the lead when Joshua Ojelabi beat Colum Feeney to a through ball to open the scoring.
A short time later a peculiar backpass decision put Wexford under pressure but Feeney made a sharp stop from Siddeeq Lunat's shot.
Adham Masood was denied a spot-kick when he looked to be shoved over in the box before the break, while Feeney made a good stop from David Gilshenan at the other end.
The injustices felt on the field lit a fire in Wexford at the break and they emerged a different team.
Masood forced Jordan Walker into a smart save from a free-kick. He played the resulting corner short to Craig O'Reilly who centred, and Yaw Aboagye battled for the ball before firing home.
Wexford kept pressing for the winner. In one move Aboagye saw his shot saved as far as Berry but his rebound effort was blocked.
Bray created a couple of half chances but the visitors almost snatched it at the death when O'Reilly volleyed Liam Evans' cross over the bar from four yards out, leaving the sides with a point each.
Wexford return to Ferrycarrig Park for their final game of the league stages versus Galway on Sunday, September 30, with the shield competition scheduled to start one week later.
Wexford F.C.: Colum Feeney; Craig O'Reilly, Ciarán Paige, Danny Bruce, Darragh Levingston, Cian Larkin (capt.), Vincent Quinlan, Liam Berry, Yaw Aboagye, Shane Beary-Cahill, Adham Masood. Subs. - Graham O'Reilly for Berry (48), Dylan Wall for Quinlan (70), Ciarán Murphy for Beary-Cahill (70), Liam Evans for Aboagye (90), also Kelan Gaffney, Seán Murphy.
Bray Wanderers: Jordan Walker; Jack Gallagher (capt.), Jack Byrne, Siddeeq Lunat, Dragos Mamaliga, James Vance, Oscar Smith, Piotr Suberlak, Joshua Ojelabi, David Gilshenan, Timmy Ilori. Subs. - Niall Barr for Smith (46), Aran Hogan for Suberlak (58), Dylan Hennessy for Lunat (63), Mazen Agami for Ojelabi (74), Keelin O'Connell for Vance (82), also Jack Kelly, Aaron Hennessey.
Referee: Mark Moynihan.