Wexford FC All over here at the RSC, thanks to our hosts this afternoon & all the best for the season ahead. FT… https://t.co/s2lVMx8Qwa

Brian de Salvo was in attendance for Wexford FC's defeat at home to Longford Town on Friday evening. 

Disappointment for Wexford as Longford Town brought their recent resurgence to an end despite playing with ten men for the last fifteen minutes. The visitors edged the game but things might have been different had first Dean Kelly and then Aaron Dobbs taken first half chances.

Manager Damien Locke retained the 4-4-2 shape that had proved so successful in the second half against Shels seven days before but, with Craig McCabe still injured, introduced recent signing Conor Dunne at right back.   Another relative newcomer Dean Kelly resumed on the Wexford left flank and Shane Dunne retained his midfield berth after coming on as a sub last week. A.J. Lehane, Eoin Porter and Conor Sutton dropped to the bench.

Longford made one change from the side that lost narrowly to runaway first division leaders Waterford last Saturday, giving former Pats player Sam Verdon his debut at the expense of Gavin Boyne.   Some pundits expected Longford to challenge for promotion but they have enjoyed an indifferent season to date. The quality of their  squad is evident, however, and with new manager Neale Fenn at the helm they will prove difficult opponents for better sides than Wexford in the run in.

Yet Wexford made the early running and a good movement down the left after seven minutes enabled Mark Slater to pull the Longford defence out of shape and slide the ball across.   But Dean Kelly, coming in from the right into space could only hit the ball wide. At the other end Conor Dunne signed in for Wexford with a crunching block that foiled Verdun’s drive at the expense of a corner.      

With Longford playing a high square defensive line Town keeper Skinner was forced into some hair-raising excursions to claim through balls. He claimed the first of these at the feet of Dobbs, The home striker should have done better with a second opportunity when sent in by Shane Dunne after 24 minutes but a poor final touch touch enabled the keeper to claim the ball again. Skinner was forced into some last ditched kicked clearances too, the last of which spiraled away for a corner and showed presence of mind when chesting an overhit backpass for another.

Speedy and powerful, Don Cowan was making his presence felt on the Longford right only to nullify the effect by straying offside on no fewer than three occasions, including one when the ball ended in the Wexford net.   But there was nothing illegal about  a sizzling cross from the right after 35 minutes. Home keeper Chambers miss read the flight and ran under it, allowing Sam Verdun, steaming in, to register a brave header from almost on the goal line as he collided with the far post. 

The game seemed over five minutes into the second half when Chambers came to fist clear yet another Jake Kelly precision corner from the right. The ball flew straight to the unmarked Noack-Hoffman on the edge of the box and the full back returned it with interest. The game had been equally balanced so it seemed unlikely that Wexford could come back from a two goal deficit. Indeed they almost conceded a third when Jake Kelly’s drive went just wide.   

Wexford did reduce the arrears in the 68th minute however with a goal from nowhere when Thomas Croke’s long range drive skidded past a surprised Skinner. Wexford were in with a chance now of a point that would have taken them off the foot of the table. Mr Locke brought on Porter, Doyle and Adam O’Rourke to raise the ante and it was the new striker who was involved in an extraordinary incident in the 68th minute, bringing down Kealon Dillon with a rash tackle and, which resulted in him landing on top of the Longford player who pushed him aside as they lay sprawled on the pitch.  Referee Andrew Mullally awarded a free kick to Longford for the foul and then produced a red card to dismiss Dillon for the push. 

It seemed a little harsh but the reduction in number did not appear to handicap Longford unduly and they hung on in relative comfort to take all three points.            

Attendance: 282

Wexford FC: Corey Chambers; Conor Dunne, Owen McCormack, Ross Kenny, Andrew O’Connor; Dean Kelly (Adam O’Rourke, 68), Thomas Croke (Danny Doyle, 81), Shane Dunne (Eoin Porter, 58), Mikey Byrne, Mark Slater. Not used: AJ Lehane, Conor Sutton, Dean George, Danny Bolger.

Longford Town: Paul Skinner; Aiden Friel, Noel Haverty, Daniel O’Reilly, Tristan Noack-Hoffman; Don Cowan (Gavin Boyne, 88), Dean Zambra, Kevin O’Connor, Karl Chambers (Kealon Dillon, 68, s/o 75); Sam Verdon (Cody Mulhall, 63), Jake Kelly. Not used: Jack Brady, Aodh Dervin, Rhys Gorman, Paul Finnegan.

Referee: Andrew Mulally


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League of Ireland First Division

    Pld +/- Pts
8 Cobh Ramblers 27 -17 29
9 Wexford FC 27 -36 17
10 Athlone Town 27 -65 7

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    Pld +/- Pts
1 Wexford Youths Women 21 46 54
2 Shelbourne LFC 21 51 52
3 Peamount United 21 55 45

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