Bohemians and Wexford in six-goal thriller at Dalymount Park

Newly-promoted Wexford Youths got off the mark in the Premier Division on Friday night by drawing 3–3 with Bohemians at Dalymount Park in a game where they will feel unlucky not to have taken all three points.

A thrilling encounter saw away side Wexford take the lead on three occasions before being pegged back each time. A ninth-minute Danny Furlong penalty broke the deadlock while Paul Murphy and Gary Delaney also got their names on the scoresheet for Youths. Mark Quigley struck twice for the home side, including an 88th-minute penalty while teammate Paddy Kavanagh got the goal of the night with a low drive into the bottom corner from outside the box.

Wexford manager Shane Keegan was left cursing his luck but is enjoying life in the top flight despite feeling that his side have been the victims of bad luck. The performance against Bohs followed on from impressive showings against Shamrock Rovers and champions Dundalk.

“We’d enjoy it a little bit more if the luck started to go for us,” Keegan said. “I’m enjoying the fact that we’re after being as good, if not better, than every opponent that we’ve played so far. This team is playing three or four levels above what I thought they were capable of playing. That was our poorest performance of the season tonight and we still should have come away with three points.”

Both sides were guilty of poor defending in a breathless first half. The watching crowd of over 1,300 were off their seats as early as the eighth minute when Bohs goalkeeper Dean Delany brought down Murphy in the box after a wayward pass from defender Lorcan Fitzgerald. Former Ireland under-21 international Delany received a yellow card from referee James McKell before being beaten by Furlong from the penalty spot.

Bohs, who were coming off the back of a disappointing 3–0 defeat to St. Patrick’s Athletic in Monday’s Dublin derby, didn’t have to wait long for an equaliser. In the 11th minute, Aymen Ben Mohammed, making his first league start for The Gypsies, delivered a brilliant cross onto the head of Quigley who hit the net to level the score at 1–1.

Bohemians’ defenders seemed unprepared for the attacking threat of the away side and in the 20th minute some poor marking saw Wexford regain the lead when Chris Kenny got on the end of a long Craig McCabe throw.

The home side almost responded immediately again when Quigley played through strike partner Kurtis Byrne who blasted wide of the Wexford goal.

The end-to-end theme of the first half continued as Furlong almost doubled his account from a volley in the the 29th minute.

A fiery encounter, which yielded seven yellow cards in total, threatened to spill over on the half-hour when a late Quigley challenge on Jonny Bonner instigated a round of pushing and shoving. Quigley was booked for his foul while Wexford’s Lee Grace also received a yellow card for his part in the scuffle.

Bohs were level again in added time of the first half when Kavanagh diverted a shot from 25 yards out low into the bottom corner of Wexford goalkeeper Graham Doyle’s net. 2–2 at the break and a chance for supporters of both sides to catch their breath.

In the second half, the Bohs faithful began to see flashes of brilliance from new signing Ben Mohammed as the former Longford Town man’s trickery caused problems for Wexford down the left flank. In the 59th minute, the 21-year-old cut inside before releasing the ball to Byrne who shot off target.

A 69th-minute free-kick from Wexford substitute Danny Ledwith was inches from going in and both sides were now chasing a winner as the realisation of more dropped points began to kick in.

Wexford appeared to have found that winner when, with 10 minutes remaining, another long throw from McCabe brought on a goalmouth scramble before centre-half Delaney headed over the line to put the away side 3–2 up and in sight of victory on their first ever competitive visit to Dalymount Park.

They almost added to their lead minutes later but Furlong’s shot was gathered by Delany in the Bohs goal. The Bohs supporters were now frantically urging their team on to find a third equaliser and their chance came in the 88th minute when defender Roberto Lopes was fouled by Ledwith in the box. Doyle got a strong hand to Quigley’s spot-kick and it looked like the three points had been saved but the ball knocked against the post before trickling over the line to level the the match once more at 3–3 with minutes remaining.

The score remained this way until the final whistle and an wonderfully entertaining game was brought to an end. A first point in the Premier Division for Wexford who now lie second-bottom of the Premier Division table while Bohs’ return of four points from four games sees them in seventh place. Bohs may feel that the chances they created should have warranted three points but poor finishing and some lacklustre defending let them down. Manager Keith Long has now seen his side concede six goals in two games. After the game, Long’s Wexford Youths counterpart Keegan spoke of the mood in the away dressing room and implied that his side would travel back down the M11 with mixed emotions.

“They need lifting. It’s a brilliant way to be that you’re coming away from Dalymount Park with a point and you’re annoyed,” he said. “It’s a sign of how good we’ve been playing at the moment and things are the tiniest of margins away from falling into place for us. It’s going to happen for us definitely, I believe anyway.”

After gaining promotion in 2015 by winning the First Division title, Keegan is slowly coming to terms with those tiny margins that often decide the outcome of Premier Division games as he went on:

“It’s a matter of a little swing of luck. It’s a matter of Graham (Doyle)’s attempt to save the penalty staying out as it so very nearly did. He’s an absolute penalty specialist, you’d be backing him every time facing a penalty. He’s brilliant at them.”

Keegan feels the way things are going, his side’s first league victory may arrive when they least expect it.

“It will be that little bit of luck for us where we score a horrible goal. We’re going to end up, I’m almost certain of it at this stage, that the first three points that we get on the board is going to come from a bad performance. I just think it’s going that way at the moment.”

Wexford Youths will continue their search for that elusive victory at home to in-form Derry City next Saturday while Bohemians will look to kick-start their campaign with a trip to Galway United on the same day.

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