Bree bite back
Home side best in under-13 goalfest
Hosts Bree United staged a dramatic second-half fightback from 4-2 down on Saturday morning to keep their title hopes alive in the Wexford and District Schoolboys League Under-13 Division 2.
Bree United 5 Wexford Celtic 4
Leigh Whelan grabbed the winner six minutes from time after Tommy Kennedy's penalty smashed off the crossbar and rebounded into his path.
It was a tough finish under pressure from the Wexford Celtic defence but Whelan kept his cool to bag the three points for his side.
The hosts got off to the best possible start when Whelan slipped Liam Doyle into the clear in the fourth minute and the talented midfielder grabbed the first of an impressive treble.
Wexford Celtic played with a strong helping breeze in the first-half and that was no more evident than when Daniel Bent curled a corner-kick into the top corner of Oscar Hayre's net in the ninth minute.
It's a special talent to be proficient at dead balls and Bent is one of the best in the under-age game in the county, something he would prove as the game wore on. His second goal came direct from a 30-metre free kick and it gave the visitors a 2-1 lead five minutes after his opener.
Doyle almost levelled for his side six minutes before half-time but he dragged his shot narrowly wide, and Bree soon fell further behind when a Bent corner was headed to the net by Adam Delaney.
When Doyle latched on to Jason Roche's throw and hared away to goal on the stroke of half-time, United had a major confidence boost to help them with their interval team-talk.
However, Celtic made the brighter start to the second period and they went 4-2 up when Bent completed his hat-trick with another pile-driver of a free-kick that a driving Hayre almost kept out.
Bree continued to play with a flamboyant freedom in attack and threw players forward at will.
They started the comeback twelve minutes into the half when Whelan's corner was scrambled over the line with Doyle getting a touch.
Tommy Kennedy played Whelan through with ten minutes remaining but his powerful shot thumped the crossbar and rebounded to safety.
The Celtic relief was short-lived as Jack Kinsella crossed to the centre of the penalty area and Kennedy drilled home a stunning volley.
With the score at 4-4 it was Bree carrying the momentum and they duly got their winner when Whelan scored from Kennedy's missed penalty after Doyle was fouled. The win leaves Bree right in the mix for the title with only Ballymurn Celtic and St. Joseph's above them with four games to go.
Star man - Liam Doyle (Bree): Did everything for his side. Driving from midfield, he created and scored in a superb individual performance.
Bree United: Oscar Hayre; Jason Roche, Seán Furlong, Seán Keshinka, Eamon Doyle; Jack Kinsella, Leigh Whelan, Liam Doyle, Ian Dunne; Tommy Kennedy, Joe Cahill. Subs. - Alan Doyle, Patrick Devereux.
Wexford Celtic: Evan Roche; Conor Shipsey, David Noonan, Ryan Asgharian, Niall Ennis; Stuart Hession, Daniel Bent, David Skuranskis, Adam Connolly, Adam Delaney; Luke O'Rourke. Subs. - Jesse Ryan for Noonan (34), Daniel Nolan for Skuranskis (38), Eoin O'Connor for Connolly (40), Kieran Morris for Delaney (45), Roshan Vergase for Shipsey (48).
Referee: Niall Whelan.