DANNY FURLONG struck a superb hat-trick to help rekindle lowly Wexford Youths' season as they handed out one of the shocks of the round as they totally outplayed Derry City at Ferrycarrig Park last night.
The Wexford lads may be struggling at the foot of the Airtricity League First Division, but they still managed to expose the Premier Division title challengers with a battling and skilful display.
Fighting for every ball, they managed to close Derry City down in midfield, who in turn resorted to the long ball, which was capably dealt with by the home side's back four, in which Martin Kehoe and Karl Keogh were superb.
There was an early chance for Derry after just three minutes, but David McDaid, having lobbed a ball across goal over the head of goalkeeper Packie Holden, saw the ball rebound off the inside of the post before being cleared away to safety.
With Wexford Youths content to soak up the pressure and close the game down in midfield, the visitors lost their shape with no real pattern to their game.
It was essentially a game being battled out in midfield, although Daniel Lafferty forced a fine save out of Holden after 13 minutes.
The hosts began to play with more confidence as Ben Ryan and Craig Wall began to have an impact in midfield.
They took a shock 31st-minute lead when Kevin Rowe played a delightful ball through for Furlong to coolly slot low under goalkeeper Gerard Doherty into the bottom right corner of the net.
While the Candystripes had more of the possession they were further rocked two minutes into additional time at the end of the first half when Barry Molloy was adjudged to have taken down Dean Broaders after a fine run, leaving Furlong to slot home the penalty for a 2-0 advantage at the interval.
Three minutes into the second half, Ryan had a shot finger-tipped over the top by Doherty, while at the opposite end minutes later Shane Nolan cleared an Eamonn Zayed shot off the line.
Both Lafferty and Furlong went close before the home side struck for their third goal in the 70th minute.
Darragh Walshe played a one-two with Furlong and his shot took a deflection, rising over Doherty into the top left-hand corner of the net.
It was no more than they deserved, and it left them 3-0 to the good as they outplayed and outfought a Derry side whose play disintegrated as the game progressed.
Furlong went on to complete his hat-trick after linking up with substitute David Grincell to slot the ball home from close range eight minutes from the end.
Zayed scored a consolation goal two minutes into additional time for Stephen Kenny's men.
Wexford Youths-- Holden; Nolan, Kehoe, Keogh, Broaders, Malone, Ryan, Wall, Furlong (Kinsella 90), Walshe (Mullen 90), K Rowe (Grincell 57).
Derry City -- Doherty; McCallion (McEleaney 67), Molloy, Greacan, Harkin, McDaid, McClean, McLoughlin (Zayed 45), Higgins, McCrudden (McGlynn 45), Lafferty.
Ref -- J McKell (Tipperary).