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Purcell pounces to dent All Blacks' bid

ALL BLACKS' promotion hopes received a huge setback when a late New Ross Town goal led to the homeside dropping two valuable points in this highly entertaining Wexford Football League Division1 clash at Ballycogley yesterday morning

Although New Ross Town fought back for a point with a really bazaar goal, the All Blacks when they look back on this game could eventually see the two points dropped as been crucial, as they try to push into the promotion race.

With a real lack of penetration up front, where Sean Gaul was a solitary threat, All Blacks as a result left New Ross Town right in this game to the final whistle, paying a costly penalty conceding an equalising goal when they should really have been out of sight.

Patrick Sinnott, Gary Redmond and Emmett O'Brien saw the All Blacks dominate in midfield, but it was up front where their real problems emerged, for it was only Gaul who posed a threat, but he lacked support in the crucial vital half of the pitch.

New Ross Town to their credit put up a staunch defence with David Purcell and Anthony Rossiter been particularly impressive at the back, but up front they were really dependant on set-pieces in an effort to force a breakthrough.

The first half produced little in the way of clear-cut chances. All Blacks regularly pushed forward but it was left to Gaul to test visiting keeper Anthony Purcell with a couple of excellent efforts, while at the opposite end it was Johnny Purcell who had a couple of long range efforts fly the wrong side of the post.

It was no real surprise when the sides went in 0-0 at the break given the lack of creativity up front from either side.

The games opening goal arrived n 65minutes. Sean Gaul showed some fine control just outside the area, twisted around a tackle, before firing a low left footed shot to the bottom left hand corner of Purcell's net giving them a deserved 1-0 lead.

They went on to create further chances but failed to increase their lead when efforts from Gaul and Emmett O'Brien just failed to find the target.

Following this series of let-off New Ross Town forced a seventy-seventh minute corner. Junior Somers floated a high goal into the area, which was misjudged by home keeper David Furlong. The ball bounced, came back off the crossbar, but it was substitute Jack Purcell, just two minutes on the pitch, who headed the rebound over the line for a bazaar equalising goal.

As the game entered the closing minutes it was Purcell who came close to snatching a dramatic winner but his low shot was well saved at the left hand post by Furlong, who more than atoned for his earlier error of judgement, leaving the game to peter out into a 1-1 draw.

All Blacks: David Furlong; Jimmy Staples, Alan Jones, Gavin Furlong, Shane Sinnott, Patrick Sinnott, Gary Redmond, Emmett O'Brien, Ian Moore, Sean Gaul, Graham Healy. Subs: Robert Cousins, Kevin Casey.

New Ross Town: Anthony Purcell, Keith Kurtz, David Purcell, Anthony Rossiter, Mick Walsh, Damien Rossiter, Jason Murphy, Johnny Purcell, Paul Dunne, Junior Somers, Brian St Ledger. Subs: Conor Cleere, Jack Purcell, Barry Ryan, Philip Mullett, T.J. Kielthy.

Referee: David Gaul.