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Cobh Ramblers 1-1 Wexford

Lee Duffy's finish a minute from the end of normal time was enough to secure a good point away from home for Wexford in their first league game of the season.

Manager Damian Locke elected to make six changes to the team that were beaten 4-2 by Shelbourne in the Leinster Senior Cup last Friday. As expected, Graham Doyle replaced Corey Chambers in goal, and Craig Hayes led the line replacing Lee Duffy who started on the bench.

The game started off scrappy. Wexford seemed to find it difficult to come to terms with a pitch that, it must be said, was in poor condition. Within the first 5 minutes however, a free kick from Shane Dunne fell to Craig Wall in the Cobh penalty area, but the chance came to nothing. 

Just a minute or so later, Shane Dunne was booked for a challenge on the half way line. It was definitely Shane Dunne, and not Thomas Croke!

After this, Dean Swords had a shot on his left foot from just outside of the box, but he didn't catch it cleanly and it looped in to the grateful arms of 'keeper Graham Doyle.

Just after the quarter-hour mark, Wexford had a free kick on their right, just inside the Cobh half. Ricky Fox played it in to the area just between the edge of the area and the penalty spot. Cobh 'keeper Paul Hunt came out but completely misjudged the flight of the ball and was left red faced. Luckily for him, his defenders were alert to what had happened and managed to block the follow up.

Liam Donnelly was the next Wexford man to try an attempt at goal. He cut in from the right on to his left foot, but unfortunately just as he took his shot, the ball hit a bobble and his attempt ended up going, very high, and very wide.

Perhaps the best chance of the half fell to midfielder Thomas Croke. After good work on the right between Wall and Donnelly, the cross found Croke about 6 yards out, in the middle of goal. As the ball came in to him from a height, he just couldn't get his foot over the ball, and his attempt was one to forget.

On the half hour mark, Thomas Croke was involved in the action again. This time for the wrong reasons. He lunged to attempt a tackle on a player getting away from him, but didn't make contact with the ball. The referee blew his whistle, and produced a yellow card.... followed by a red. Thankfully it was a case of mistaken identity as the referee confused him with Shane Dunne who he had earlier booked, and Croke was allowed to stay on the pitch.

Cobh could have counted themselves unlucky not to go in to the break one goal ahead. With just a minute to go until the halftime whistle, O'Connor was caught in possession by Ross Mann in the vicinity of the corner flag, the ball was worked out to Shane Lowth, but his shot whistled just inches wide of the far post.

After a lot of slipping and sliding on the pitch, the teams entered the dressing rooms all level.

Wexford started the second half well. Craig Wall was starting to stamp his authority on the midfield, firstly by playing Craig Hayes in and then combining with Sean Hurley, but both attempts came to nothing.

The break in the deadlock finally came in the 52nd minute. Ricky Fox tried to run the ball out of defence, but got caught in possession. In trying to atone for his error, he committed a foul approximately 25 yards from goal, in the center of the pitch. Dean Swords stepped up and struck the ball left-footed over the wall, and out of reach of the diving Graham Doyle. The majority of the 550 inside St Colman's Park celebrated.

It was approaching the hour mark when Mark Slater replaced Liam Donnelly on the right wing, and Wexford seemed to wake up.

After a foul on the left side of Wexford's midfield, Shane Dunne whipped the ball in to the area, and it dropped towards the near post. As a number of legs stretched to try and get a touch, 'keeper Hunt claimed.

While the momentum was with Wexford, Locke made his second change of the game, with forward Lee Duffy coming on the replace Thomas Croke.

As Wexford pushed for the equaliser, they heaped the pressure on the hosts. First O'Connor's inswinging free kick from the right was cleared, and then Hurley's cross from the left just had a little too much fizz on it.

When Cobh's McCarthy went down injured with just a couple of minutes to play, he took as long as possible leaving the field. It was understandable. Cobh were under severe pressure and a chance to knock a few seconds off of the clock was too much to resist.

After another few passages of attacking play from Wexford, they were awarded a corner from their left. Shane Dunne took it right-footed. It wasn't a beautifully delivered ball in on top of the 'keeper, but a rather flat ball. It made its way through the penalty area and eventually to Duffy who was unmarked inside the six yard box. He stuck a foot out and the ball went in to the net. As Duffy ran off to the corner to celebrate, the Wexford fans who had made the journey rejoiced.

There were 4 minutes of added time, but neither team could carve out a chance to get all 3 points.

Cobh Ramblers: Paul Hunt, Ben O'Riordan, Anthony O'Donnell, Karl Caulfield, James McSweeney, Christopher McCarthy (Craig Donnellan, 89), Shane Lowth, Stephen Christopher (Jason Abbott, 68), Dean Swords, Ian Mylod, Ross Mann. Not used: Adam Mylod, Charlie Flemming, Kyle McNamara, Scott McCarthy, Ryan Hogan

Wexford: Graham Doyle, Ricky Fox, Andrew O'Connor, Ross Kenny, Owen McCormack, Thomas Croke (Lee Duffy, 68), Sean Hurley, Craig Wall, Craig Hayes, Shane Dunne, Liam Donnelly (Mark Slater, 58). Not used: John McKeown, Jamie Fox, Dean George, Conor Sutton, Corey Chambers

 

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