Kelly seals pre­cious late win

Wex­ford come from be­hind to de­feat Cabin­teely again

Gorey Guardian - - SPORT - ALAN AH­ERNE in Stradbrook


STRADBROOK’S STAND­ING as the hap­pi­est hunt­ing ground for Wex­ford F.C. can­not be ques­tioned at this stage af­ter they chalked up their sec­ond win of the sea­son at the south Dublin venue with a gutsy re­cov­ery on a wind-less Fri­day evening.

The op­ti­mism gen­er­ated by the 1-0 suc­cess at the same venue on the open­ing night last Fe­bru­ary has long since dis­ap­peared, but this was an im­por­tant state­ment by the play­ers af­ter a week when their shoddy treat­ment by club of­fi­cials left a bit­ter taste.

In re­al­ity, Wex­ford should have been cel­e­brat­ing two wins on the bounce for the first time this sea­son af­ter Fri­day’s game, given that they had over­come Athlone Town 1-0 seven nights ear­lier.

How­ever, they fielded a player un­der sus­pen­sion - Thomas Croke - in the process, leav­ing the FAI with no op­tion in ac­cor­dance to rule other than award­ing all three points to the mid­lan­ders and grant­ing them a 3-0 win on the of­fi­cial record.

The fact that the Water­ford man was deemed alright to play was an ex­er­cise in gross in­com­pe­tence be­hind the scenes, and noth­ing to do with the play­ers.

And to their im­mense credit, they re­sponded in the best way pos­si­ble, ab­sorb­ing the sucker punch of go­ing one be­hind to equalise less than twelve min­utes later, be­fore a fast break led to a late win­ner.

Man­ager Damian Locke pulled a rab­bit from the hat in the process, be­cause Em­met Nu­gent - signed from Free­boot­ers in Kilkenny dur­ing the week - was given a sec­ond-half de­but up front and made an im­me­di­ate im­pact, set­ting up Mark Slater’s equaliser and look­ing very sharp in gen­eral.

That Cabin­teely goal had ar­rived in the 54th minute from the penalty spot, with cen­tre-half Conor Kee­ley send­ing Corey Cham­bers the wrong way af­ter Seán Kelly was deemed to have fouled Jack Tuite in the air as he tried to clear his lines.

The same player had scored the win­ner when the sides last met in Fer­rycar­rig Park in the league in May, but Wex­ford have quite a good record against the Dublin­ers as they dumped them out of the Le­in­ster Se­nior Cup as well as com­ing out on top in Stradbrook last Fe­bru­ary.

As a re­sult, they weren’t en­tirely de­flated by the con­ces­sion of that goal, and two lively sub­sti­tutes com­bined for the equaliser.

Nu­gent had been in­tro­duced for Aaron Dobbs five min­utes into the sec­ond-half, and he was joined af­ter a short pe­riod by Mark Slater who al­ways en­joys play­ing against his former club.

Cabin­teely did go close to dou­bling the lead af­ter a late chal­lenge by Conor Sut­ton on Kieran Marty Wa­ters in the 61st minute, but a Jack Wat­son free-kick des­tined for the top right cor­ner was tipped ac­ro­bat­i­cally over the bar by Corey Cham­bers.

Ryan Nolan then sent a low drive left and wide af­ter a Dean Ge­orge cross was sent back into his path by Nu­gent, but there was bet­ter to come in the 66th minute.

Slater played the ball to the new­comer from Kilkenny who got to the by­line be­fore loop­ing it back into the box. And, af­ter con­tin­u­ing his run, Slater was ide­ally placed to beat Stephen McGuin­ness from close range with a down­ward header.

The home side were mo­men­tar­ily de­flated, but they fash­ioned one very good chance un­der the watch­ful gaze of Wex­ford’s own Gary Dempsey who is a new ad­di­tion to their coach­ing staff and con­ducted the pre-match warm-up.

Prior to that, a foul on Dean Kelly in a cen­tral area led to a free-kick sent nar­rowly to the right and wide by Slater, but Wex­ford were breath­ing a col­lec­tive sigh of re­lief af­ter a let-off in the 73rd minute.

Kieran Marty Wa­ters lofted a beau­ti­ful ball over the top for Joe Doyle, a man with a good track record against the Fer­rycar­rig Park out­fit. He seemed poised to score af­ter con­trol­ling the ball, but the slight­est of nudges by John Mor­gan as he at­tempted to beat Corey Cham­bers may have made all the dif­fer­ence as his lofted ef­fort came back into play off the bar.

The home side con­tin­ued to look more threat­en­ing, with Cham­bers sav­ing com­fort­ably from Jack Wat­son at the end of his long run be­fore Doyle got to the by­line and saw his cross cleared by Mor­gan.

Cham­bers grabbed a Keith Dal­ton shot at the sec­ond at­tempt, but sloppy work from the same Cabin­teely player led to the win­ning Wex­ford goal in the 86th minute.

His slack short pass in mid­field was in­ter­cepted by Dean Kelly who raced down the mid­dle be­fore re­leas­ing the ball to Mark Slater on the right.

He in turn knocked a first-time pass to the left side for Ryan Nolan whose de­liv­ery into the box re­sulted in two Cabin­teely play­ers col­lid­ing. Kelly had kept run­ning and the ball fell per­fectly into his path, with the Car­low lad join­ing Aaron Dobbs as league top scorer on five goals apiece with a com­posed fin­ish.

The home side threw cau­tion to the wind in the three added min­utes, and the de­ci­sion to push Conor Kee­ley up front al­most paid div­i­dends.

He got his boot on a long throw to hook it into the path of Kieran Marty Wa­ters who couldn’t keep his vol­ley down, leav­ing Wex­ford to bring a frus­trat­ing week to a pos­i­tive end.

The side had been un­changed from the trip to Athlone, and they prob­a­bly shaded the tight ex­changes in a score­less open­ing half.

Cabin­teely headed the over­all cor­ner count 7-5, with their first in the 13th minute re­sult­ing in a blocked shot from Keith Dal­ton.

Conor Ear­ley was booked for a cyn­i­cal foul on Danny Doyle to pre­vent a break­away be­fore Wex­ford’s first ef­fort on goal, a weak shot to the left and wide by mid­fielder Ryan Nolan.

Stand-in cap­tain Mikey Byrne was next to en­ter the notebook af­ter a mist­imed tackle on Kieran Marty Wa­ters, while Doyle couldn’t make the most of a glo­ri­ous lon­grange pass from the left flank by Dean Kelly in the 19th minute when his shot missed the tar­get.

A good cross by Keith Dal­ton was headed to the left and wide by Dean Casey in the 28th minute, with Kelly test­ing Stephen McGuin­ness at the other end when his first-time ef­fort af­ter a Dean Ge­orge as­sist led to a fruit­less cor­ner.

A Dean Casey free was headed left and wide by Jack Tuite, while his next set-piece - af­ter Owen McCor­mack picked up a book­ing for a foul on Chris­tian Lotefa - was headed clear by Danny Doyle.

Aaron Dobbs was next to test net­min­der McGuin­ness, with the Cabo num­ber one beat­ing away his pow­er­ful ef­fort from out­side the box af­ter Dean Ge­orge knocked the ball into the striker’s path in the 39th minute.

Cabin­teely should have opened the scor­ing from an­other free-kick just be­fore half-time, but Kieran Marty Wa­ters couldn’t keep his header down even though he rose in the box with­out a chal­lenge.

Ryan Nolan was get­ting for­ward at ev­ery op­por­tu­nity for Wex­ford on the re-start, but they had to do it the hard way af­ter con­ced­ing that first goal in the 54th minute.

How­ever, the game fin­ished on a high note, and that was the ideal tonic ahead of the sec­ond visit of the sea­son to Fer­rycar­rig Park by ta­ble-top­pers U.C.D. on Fri­day (8 p.m.).

The last clash at the venue in May saw the stu­dents romp home 8-0, but Wex­ford ap­pear to be in a bet­ter place ahead of this lat­est test. Only time will tell whether or not that is the case.

They were on the road against last night (Mon­day) for the Le­in­ster Se­nior Cup quar­ter-fi­nal away to Pre­mier Divi­sion side St. Pa­trick’s Ath­letic in Rich­mond Park, while they will en­ter­tain an­other top flight Dublin out­fit, Bo­hemi­ans, in the FAI Cup next month.

North End United have also been handed a mouth-wa­ter­ing home draw in the same com­pe­ti­tion against Gal­way United, now un­der the man­age­ment of long-time player Alan Mur­phy af­ter Shane Kee­gan’s depar­ture.

Wex­ford F.C.: Corey Cham­bers; Conor Sut­ton, Owen McCor­mack, Seán Kelly, John Mor­gan; Mikey Byrne (capt.), Dean Kelly; Danny Doyle, Ryan Nolan, Dean Ge­orge; Aaron Dobbs. Subs. - Em­met Nu­gent for Dobbs (50), Mark Slater for Doyle (60), Aaron O’Con­nor for Byrne (80), also Colum Feeney, Ross Kenny, Liam McCar­tan, Ke­lan Gaffney.

Cabin­teely: Stephen McGuin­ness; Seán Fitz­patrick, Conor Kee­ley, Jack Tuite; Keith Dal­ton, Conor Ear­ley, Chris­tian Lotefa, Dean Casey; Jack Wat­son; Kieran Marty Wa­ters, Luke Clu­cas. Subs. - Joe Doyle for Clu­cas (72), Karl Byrne for Casey (77), Zak O’Neill for Ear­ley (82), also Seán Hy­land, Andy O’Reilly, Adam Ma­her, Robert McGee.

Ref­eree: David Dunne (Dublin).


P W D L F A Pt U.C.D. 19 12 3 4 41 23 39 Shel­bourne 19 9 8 2 35 14 35 Drogheda Utd 19 10 4 5 39 18 34 Finn Harps 19 10 4 5 26 19 34 Long­ford Tn 19 9 5 5 36 21 32 Gal­way Utd 19 8 5 6 32 19 29 Cobh Rblers 19 7 3 9 18 28 24 Cabin­teely 19 7 1 11 19 23 22 Wex­ford F.C. 19 3 3 13 18 45 12 Athlone Town 19 1 2 16 11 65 5

Ryan Nolan of Wex­ford F.C. bat­tles it out in the air with Cabin­teely’s Jack Wat­son. Dean Kelly cel­e­brates af­ter his late win­ner sealed all three points.

Striker Aaron Dobbs shields the ball from Cabin­teely’s Conor Ear­ley.

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