Wan­der­ers U-15s pounce for Pre­cious win­ner

Wicklow People (West Edition) - - SPORT -

BRAY WAN­DER­ERS 2 WEXFORD FC 1

BRAY Wan­der­ers rode their luck as they came from be­hind to pinch glory in this ex­hil­i­rat­ing SSE Air­tric­ity League quar­ter-fi­nal clash at the Carlisle Grounds.

The young ‘Gulls fell be­hind af­ter 19 min­utes on Sun­day and they had goal­keeper Sean Cof­fey to thank for keep­ing the deficit at a sin­gle goal as he pro­duced a fine penalty save.

Wan­der­ers lev­eller caused up­roar amongst the vis­i­tors as Festy Ebosele’s strike was ini­tally saved by Youths shot-stop­per Cian Browne.

The re­boud spun dan­ger­ously towards goal and Browne bat­ted it away but ref­eree Paula Brady deemed it to have crossed the line.

With ex­tra-time loom­ing, Bray stole it at the death, with Pre­cious Omochere vol­ley­ing home in the dy­ing sec­onds.

Wexford Youths were deeply un­happy at the fi­nal whis­tle - un­happy that the first goal for Bray was awarded, un­happy that Brady played so much in­jury time which pro­duced the win­ner and un­happy at her de­ci­sion not to dis­miss Ebosele for what they were con­vinced were two book­able of­fences.

In the first-half, Youths were ex­cep­tional, out­wit­ting and out­play­ing the tal­ented Bray side.

They ab­sorbed the home pres­sure and broke with pace and pos­i­tiv­ity.

That’s how they went ahead af­ter 19 min­utes, as Brody Mur­phy surged into the Bray half be­fore sup­ply­ing James Dowl­ing to fin­ish into the top right cor­ner.

Evan Far­rell had popped one well over in the early ex­changes, but that was the first real op­por­tu­nity for either side.

When the chance came for Wexford to dou­ble their lead from the spot, Lev­ingston bravely stepped for­ward. At that mo­ment, one felt that the vis­i­tors had done a job on Bray.

In typ­i­cal un­der­dog style they had sti­fled them and they were go­ing to take their chances as they came.

The Gorey man’s spot-kick was by no means a bad one, but the height rather than the di­rec­tion al­lowed Seán Cof­fey to palm away and halt Wexford’s on­slaught.

The sec­ond-half will be a painful mem­ory for Wexford for some time.

It was so painful be­cause of the na­ture of the goals. Ebosele’s strike, ini­tially saved by Cian Browne, bounced towards the goal be­fore the Yel­low­belly ‘keeper re­cov­ered and bat­ted it away.

The ar­gu­ment of whether it crossed the line en­sued and we may never know for sure, but while Brady was hes­i­tant, her lines­man was con­vinced and Bray were on terms.

In be­tween Bray’s two strikes, it was as open as it was all game. Brian Byrne had two golden chances, with one saved while the other crept un­der the ‘keeper but into the side-net­ting.

Bray went close too, as Alan Leonard and Pre­cious Omochere both forced saves from Browne.

As the game ticked on Ebosele walked the tightrope, booked for a pre­vi­ous badly-timed lunge, he booted the ball away from Browne as he looked to take a quick free.

Brady, with all her ex­pe­ri­ence of ref­er­ee­ing at the high­est level, some­how failed to pro­duce the game-chang­ing sec­ond yel­low.

Brady was in the spot­light again for the win­ner. As the game en­tered the 83rd minute ques­tions were be­ing asked as to whether three min­utes of in­jury time was war­ranted.

With the ball in the mid­dle of the pitch, she checked her watch and brought the whis­tle to her lips, ready to send the game into ex­tra-time.

But she didn’t blow. Wan­der­ers passed for­ward and she al­lowed Bray to con­tinue their at­tack.

Pre­cious Omochere latched onto an outswing­ing cross and volleyed into the top cor­ner af­ter his ini­tial header was cleared by Kyle Scallan.

Wexford barely had time to tip off and boot the ball for­ward be­fore the whis­tle was blown.

It was the cru­ellest of fi­nales for the Fer­rycar­rig boys to take, but Bray Wan­der­ers had dug deep and sourced a win­ner against the odds.

Bray will face an un­beaten St. Pa­trick’s Ath­letic in the semi-fi­nal, and the win­ners will meet Athlone Town or Finn Harps for the ti­tle.

Destiny Idele of Bray Wan­der­ers is closed down by Gra­ham O’Reilly of Wexford F.C., with net­min­der Cian Browne alert at his near post.

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