Wednesday 16 October 2019

Youths close to away win

WEXFORD YOUTHS were only minutes away from closing in on the league leaders as a late goal handed Finn Harps a point from an exciting Division 1 clash at Finn Park on Friday last.

WEXFORD YOUTHS were only minutes away from closing in on the league leaders as a late goal handed Finn Harps a point from an exciting Division 1 clash at Finn Park on Friday last.

It was a late penalty that denied the Youths all three points that their battling display deserved. They had tucked away their second-half chance and for so long it looked as if it would be sufficient to give them all three points.

However, they were caught late on, but they will still be happy to have come away from Finn Park with a point as the Donegal side are also challenging close to the top of the table. The Youths' recent rich vein of form continued which should leave them eagerly looking forward to two successive home games, where points would leave them in a healthy league position so early in the season.

Wexford Youths looked the more enterprising side for long periods. They found it difficult to break down the home side's back four, while at the opposite end it took some excellent defending to keep their goal intact.

Harps saw one early effort well saved by 'keeper Graham Doyle, while another Rúairí Keating effort from the edge of the box went over the top. But the Youths showed a lively response as Danny Furlong threatened up front with a couple of close-range efforts, but still the sides went in 0-0 at the interval.

Wexford Youths stepped up the tempo of their game on the resumption. With Harps having been reduced to ten players two minutes before the break when Keith Cowan was been red carded for a foul on Danny Furlong, they came under increasing pressure.

The Youths went ahead in the 65th minute when Killian Cantwell got on the end of a Dean Broaders free-kick to magnificently steer his header home from 15 metres. It was a superbly-placed header from the Youths player, taking full advantage of the freedom allowed by the home defence.

With three minutes remaining it looked as if the Youths would hold out for all three points, but Rúairí Keating went down under a challenge from 'keeper Doyle. The home player picked himself up to convert the resulting penalty, ensuing the game ended in a draw.

Wexford Youths will be anxious to continue their recent fine run when they entertain Galway United in their Division 1 league clash this Friday (8 p.m.).

The Youths along with Longford Town are chasing league leaders Shelbourne, and with the new-look westerners side on the fringe of the promotion challenge this makes for what should be an enthralling game.

With just one side now coming out of Galway, under manager Tommy Dunne, the former Cork City supremo, they have been making steady progress. They will be seeking a victory over the Youths as three points would see them leapfrog back into the promotion race.

The Youths, having taken seven out of a possible nine points from their last three games, have added to the strength of the challenge at the top of the table, with the results keeping them hot on the tails of leaders Shelbourne.

They will be hoping to maintain that consistency in what is the first of two huge games for the side, as the following Friday they entertain Shelbourne.

For them three points from this Galway game would set up a huge fixture with Shelbourne. But right now manager Shane Keegan and the players will be looking no further than this Friday evening's Galway game.

The Youths' back four has been in exceptional form in recent games with Peter Higgins, Killian Cantwell, Stephen Last and Ryan Delaney giving little scope to the opposing front players, while Dean Broaders, back to top form, Shane Nolan and Eric Molloy have been impressive in midfield. Danny Furlong has marked his return with a run of goals.

Now they face a huge Galway challenge. An increase in home support would be a huge boost to the players as they are capable of taking three points from this game.

Enniscorthy Guardian