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Wexford FC U15 | Excellent win on the road for our U15s up at Marlay Park, Andrew Synoradzki on target for us today as it fini… https://t.co/3byoZNh7BN

After five long months the 2019 SSE Airtricty League First Division finally got up and running last night as Wexford FC travelled to the midlands to face a new look Athlone Town side much fancied to do well this season.

Brian O'Sullivan, in charge of his first League of Ireland campaign, gave Wexford FC League debuts to six players on the night, Danny Furlong, Joe Walshe, Nika Arevadze, Jack Doherty, Lee Costello and Sean Callan. Danny Doyle was the only player in the starting line up last night that was present the last time these two sides met in September 2018 (Owen McCormack was injured for that last game of the season at Ferrycarrig).

McCormack led the team out in the absence of injured club captain 'Hopper' Kenny and a bright opening from the visitors led to the opening goal after just six minutes, Emmet Nugent finishing superbly between the legs of the advancing keeper Aaron Myles after Jack Doherty played him through on goal. 

Unfortunately that dream start only lasted 4 minutes after the referee harshly dismissed Danny Furlong with a straight red card after an off the ball tussle with Ciaran Grogan.

So it was backs to the wall for the 10 men of Wexford with 80 minutes still remaining on the clock. 

Dean Casey tied the game up on 14 minutes, Darren Meenan with a clever pass to the wing back who fired into the corner of the net. The home team had their tails up for a period after the equaliser, Kaleem Simon in particular posing major problems and testing Joe Walshe on a couple of occasions with fine efforts on his left foot.

But Wexford weathered the storm well and could even have gone in at the break with a lead after Sean Callan rose highest from a Doherty corner and headed powerfully at goal but unfortunately straight at Myler. All square at the break.

Ten minutes into the second half and Dean Williams had Athlone in front, a tidy finish with Meenan again the provider. The lead only lasted 2 minutes though as Danny Doyle was fouled in the Athlone penalty box just as he was about to shoot on goal. Jack Doherty stepped up and found the net despite Myles getting a hand on it. 2-2 with a half an hour remaining.

With 20 to go, Kaleem Simon scored from close range after Wexford failed to clear a corner and the hosts had their lead again, 6 minutes later Kealon Dillon wrapped up the points for the midlanders with a right foot shot from inside the box. 

So a disappointing start to the new campaign. Furlong will miss the next game against his former team Galway United at Ferrycarrig Park on Friday night. On the positive side though, Wexford were down a man for the majority of the game and made Athlone work extremely hard for the three points. Onto the next one.

Wexford FC: Joe Walshe, Thomas Croke, Owen McCormack (c), Sean Callan, Lee Costello, Paddy Cahill, Nika Arevadze (Andrew Farrell 75), Danny Doyle, Jack Doherty, Danny Furlong and Emmet Nugent.  Subs Not Used: Corey Chambers, Sean Kelly, Liam McCartan, Emmanuel Lawal, Ryan Nolan and Torik Adegoke.

Bookings: Thomas Croke, Nika Arevadze, Sean Callan and Owen McCormack  Red Card: Danny Furlong.

Athlone Town: Aaron Myles, Gavin Kearney, Aaron Brilly (Josh Hogan 58), Evan White, Ciaran Grogan, Shane Dunne (Shane Stokes 85), Kealan Dillon, Dean Casey, Darren Meenan, Kaleem Simon and Dean Williams (Kyle Hogan 81).  Subs Not Used: Dean George, Cian Byrne, Lloyd Buckley and Gargar Ta Uway.

Bookings: Gavin Kearney and Shane Dunne. 

Check out the match highlights below:

 

 

 

 

CURRENT STANDINGS

League of Ireland First Division

    Pld +/- Pts
8 Cobh Ramblers 14 -7 12
9 Athlone Town 13 -16 10
10 Wexford FC 14 -18 8

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    Pld +/- Pts
1 Peamount United 8 26 24
2 Wexford Youths Women 8 16 19
3 Shelbourne FC 8 29 17

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