Table-toppers in thrilling shoot-out
THESE TEAMS are preparing for a title shoot-out as they could not be separated in this top of the table Youths Premier Division thriller as New Ross Celtic struck for a late equaliser to deny home side Wexford Youths all three points at Ferrycarrig Park on Saturday last.
Going into this game the sides were locked on 18 points each from six games played, so a victory for either would have handed them a clear advantage on the run-in. However, after 90 enthralling minutes they remain together at the top of the table.
Both teams had managed to go into this game with a one hundred per cent record, so it had all the ingredients of a real thriller, and it certainly lived up to pre-match expectations with the advantage flowing to either side during different stages.
New Ross Celtic struck like lightning from the kick-off, sweeping into a two-goal lead as they played some delightful attacking football as Cian O'Donohoe and Eoin Rhodes controlled midfield, while up front Conor Tierney and Dean Kehoe stretched the back four.
Wexford Youths, with Ryan Delaney outstanding at the back, withstood the early pressure as Tierney and Rhodes both brought the best out of home 'keeper Danny Nixon with two excellent shots on goal.
Wexford Youths to their credit still managed to show their attacking instincts as Jason McHugh and Cian Boggan began to eventually make an impact in midfield, setting up Daryl Power whose shot from the edge of the area was well pushed away to safety by 'keeper Eoin Cummins.
New Ross Celtic eventually got the breakthrough on the 19th minute when Conor Tierney, who had been a real threat up front from the start, got just reward for his efforts with a delightful effort to the bottom right-hand corner of the net past a helpless Nixon in the home goal.
Although Daryl Power came close to forcing an equaliser on a couple of occasions, midfielder Modestas Macenas made it 2-0 when he finished from close range twelve minutes before the break.
The home side hauled themselves back into the game when Power eventually got the breakthrough with a low shot to the net, leaving it 2-1 at the interval.
Wexford Youths were outstanding through the second-half as Power struck for a 60th-minute equaliser, while twelve minutes later the superb Jason McHugh gave his side the lead for the first time, getting on the end of a fine three-man move to beat Cummins in the visitors' goal.
When it looked as if the home side was about to hold out, New Ross Celtic in one final late attack laid siege to the home goal, and Cian McDonald forced the ball over the line through a crowded goalmouth for a dramatic late equaliser.
Wexford Youths: Danny Nixon, Conor Maher, Dale Scallan, Eoin Dunne, Ryan Delaney, James Shiggins, Jason McHugh, Cian Boggan, Tony Smith, Daryl Power, James Dunne. Subs. - Conor O'Reilly, Cian Rogers, Seán Stephenson.
New Ross Celtic: Seán Cummins, Luke O'Loughlin, Seán Duffy, Donncha O'Connor, Dylan Egan, Cian O'Donohoe, Modestas Macenas, Eoin Rhodes, Conor Tierney, Neil Dunne, Dean Kehoe. Subs. - Thomas O'Connor, Robbie McGrath.
Referee: Damien Donovan.