A 39th minute goal from substitute Eoin Porter earned Wexford only their second win of the season at Stradbrook on Friday night as Cabinteely’s pursuit of the Division’s leading pack stalled.
The First Division league table suggested little other than a home win but, in front of a disappointing crowd, Cabinteely failed to take their chances and went down to Porter’s first half strike.
Porter started the game on the Wexford bench but after just six minutes left-sided midfielder Mark Slater was forced off through injury and the seventeen year old entered the fray. This early blow to the visitors’ plans wouldn’t have helped them to settle and it took a good fifteen minutes before they found their feet.
In that time Cabinteely should have taken the lead but an enterprising overhead kick from Evan Galvin was too high while Joe Doyle failed to connect cleanly with the goal at his mercy after just nine minutes.
Wexford soon started to sort themselves out and came close to an opener after 22 minutes when Adam Hanlon’s snapshot was expertly turned around the post by home keeper Jack Menton. Overall, however, it was Cabinteely who called the shots in an uninspiring first half.
Wexford threatened the home defence only sporadically but on 36 minutes a decent cross from Danny Doyle almost provided Porter with an opening, the ball spinning off the substitute’s head and away from the danger zone. One minute later he made amends, drilling home at the far post after a superb run by Hanlon had set him up.
After the break the tempo of the game rose significantly and Cabinteely played like a team who had just been on the business end of a Pat Devlin hairdryer. Just as in the opening half it was the home team who took the game to their opponents with Kieran Marty Waters playing the creator in chief. But for all their efforts Cabo still failed to properly test Corey Chambers in the Wexford goal.
Again, just as in the first half, Wexford solidified as the half progressed and their occasional expeditions into enemy territory came with increasing menace. Thomas Croke headed tamely towards goal from a Ricky Fox free kick on the hour before Hanlon failed to hit the target with two half chances in the 66th and 69th minutes.
As the game entered the final fifteen minutes Cabinteely redoubled their efforts, leaving just three at the back and pressing forwards with increasing desperation. Conor Keeley glanced a close range effort off the post and substitute Michael Scott shot straight at Chambers.
With just five minutes remaining Evan Galvin struck a well hit shot narrowly over the bar and three minutes later Jack Watson missed a great chance when he met a Waters cross at the back post but lifted his half-volley over the goal.
Cabinteely came closer still in the final seconds of normal time when Keeley cracked the ball off the crossbar but four added minutes gave the home side hope. That disappeared in the midst of a melee that followed an incident in front of the dugouts that saw straight red cards for Wexford’s Ricky Fox and Cabo’s Christian Lotefa.
The final whistle came moments after order had been restored and Wexford left Stradbrook with their first away win of the season. Cabinteely will rue their many missed opportunities as the gap between them and the leading pack widens.
Cabinteely: Jack Menton; Adam Maher (Michael Scott 63), Conor Keeley, Dylan Roche (Daire Doyle 72), Kevin Knight; Jack Watson, Christian Lotefa, Anthony Dolan (Peter Durrad 63), Evan Galvin; Kieran Marty Waters; Joe Doyle.
Subs Not Used: Dean Mahon, Karl Byrne, Rob McGee, Aaron Robinson.
Booked: Watson (45), Lotefa (79), Knight (90), Waters (90)
Sent Off: Lotefa (90+4)
Wexford FC: Corey Chambers; Craig McCabe, Owen McCormack, Ross Kenny, Ricky Fox; Adam Hanlon, Thomas Croke, Conor Sutton, Mark Slater (Eoin Porter 72); Aaron O’Connor (Dean Kelly 63); Danny Doyle (Liam Donnelly 81).
Subs Not Used: Michael Walsh, Dean George, Mikey Byrne, Sean Hurley.
Booked: Croke (67), McCormack (90)
Sent Off: Fox (90+4)
Referee: Adriano Reale.
Attendance: 100 (estimate)
Extratime Man of the Match: Adam Hanlon (Wexford FC).