Wexford Youths grabbed a late equaliser 3 minutes into added-time to deny Shelbourne full points in another turgid encounter between the two sides at a windswept Ferrycarrig Park on Sunday afternoon.
The Youths made a total of five changes to the side beaten away to Waterford the previous week, due to injury, suspension and tactical reasons, while the Reds brought new signing Stephen Paisley into their defence in place of the sidelined Sean Byrne who was both injured and serving a match ban. Leading goal-scorer Dinny Corcoran was dropped to the bench to be replaced by Brian Farrell.
With a stiff breeze blowing the length of the pitch, both sides found it difficult to settle into any sort of rhythm. Almost half an hour passed before we saw the first real goal-scoring opportunity of the game when Shels captain McGill crossed in from the left to the near post where Marc Hughes was unlucky to find keeper Packie Holden well positioned to block his shot.
The home team then counter-attacked and a long ball over the top found Gary Sheahan on the left, but the Reds net-minder Delaney was untroubled with any easy stop from a poorly hit strike.
Five minutes later the visitors took the lead after Sheahan had fouled Reds midfielder Paul Shiels just inside the halfway line. David Cassidy floated a long high ball into the area which was headed on by Gareth Whelan to Ian Ryan at the back post where he toe-poked it into the net to open the scoring.
Gorman should have done better just before the half-time whistle when he was through on Holden in front of the Wexford goal but the keeper did well to hold him off. The second half continued in very similar and sporadic vein, with few chances being created. Paisley on 72 minutes hit a strong header straight at Holden from a corner in probably the best opportunity of the half.
The Youths were restricted to playing long hopeful balls over the top, but they persisted to chase the game. Deep into injury time their doggedness paid off when a long throw into the area found the Reds defence switched off. A goalmouth scramble ensued and despite the presence of three defenders on the line, Greg Ylverton was there too, to turn the ball into the net and level the game, putting a dent in Shelbourne’s hopes of reaching a playoff place.
Wexford Youths: Holden, Kehoe, Broaders , Russell Woulfe , O'Flynn, Ryan (McCurtain 81), Yelverton, Mullen (Dempsey 60), Sheahan , Rowe (Furlong 60). Subs not used: McCurtain, Hennessy, Furlong, R Dempsey, Doyle.