Improving Youths take a crucial point off leaders
WEXFORD YOUTHS continued their improved form when taking a deserved point off leaders Longford Town in this hugely-entertaining Airtricity Division 1 clash at Ferrycarrig Park on Friday night last.
WEXFORD YOUTHS 1 Furlong pen. (22)
LONGFORD TOWN 1 Bermingham (53)
This was the Wexford side's second successive draw, helping to put their mid-term sequence of defeats behind them, with the result that they remain in fifth spot on 21 points.
However, this was a game they will feel they left behind, as they enjoyed enough possession and chances to have put the leaders away. It was some staunch defending from the visitors plus a little hesitancy in front of goal that eventually led to them having to settle for a point in a game that provided a tense finish, with the home side being reduced to ten players after 54 minutes when Aidan Keenan was red-carded following a high challenge.
Despite their numerical disadvantage the Youths continued to cope, with Jamie Carr and James Scallan excellent at the back, while Craig Wall, Danny Furlong and Joey Mulcahy were also very prominent throughout.
Wexford Youths dominated the opening passages of play. Inside two minutes Danny Furlong had a header tipped over the top by visiting 'keeper Craig Hyland, while Joey Mulcahy brought the best out of Hyland following a fine run and shot.
Longford Town had to wait until the 16th minute for their first attempt on goal, with Gary Shaw glancing a header just outside the right-hand post, but Wexford Youths continued to dominate the game.
After 22 minutes they achieved the breakthrough they had been threatening. Brian Nolan drove in on goal and was bowled over as he went to get in his shot. From the resulting penalty Danny Furlong sent Hyland the wrong way, giving his side a deserved 1-0 lead.
Ten minutes later Furlong got himself into a scoring position but was denied by a last-gasp tackle from Noel Haverty, while Joey Mulcahy after another fine run saw his shot on goal well held by the 'keeper, but the Youths took a deserved 1-0 lead into the interval break.
However, Longford Town did manage to come more into the game on the resumption, eventually getting back level on 53 minutes when substitute Karl Bermingham lifted a free-kick over the wall, with 'keeper Graham Doyle managing to get a hand to the ball but only succeeding in helping it on its way to the corner of the net, making it 1-1.
One minute later came Keenan's dismissal but as the half progressed neither side was able to create a winning goal, with the Youths putting up a defensive rearguard as the visitors bombarded their goal in the closing minutes as they sought out what would have been a match-winning goal.