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Dublin: 11°C Thursday 28 January 2021

Dundalk snatch win with 93rd-minute strike in five-goal thriller against Wexford Youths

Patrick McEleney was the hero for the champions.

Dundalk's Patrick McEleney (file pic).
Dundalk's Patrick McEleney (file pic).
Image: INPHO/Morgan Treacy

Dundalk 3

Wexford Youths 2

PATRICK McELENEY’S 93RD-MINUTE goal ensured Dundalk maintained their four-point advantage at the top of the SSE Airtricity League Premier Division — but they were made to work hard for the victory against Wexford Youths.

The champions fell behind in each half but goals from Daryl Horgan, Darren Meenan and McEleney right at the death mean that Dundalk are now on an eight-match winning streak in the league.

With Cork City having won their seventh straight game earlier in the day, next Friday’s encounter between the two sides could hardly be more of a mouthwatering prospect.

It was a day for returning heroes at Oriel Park. Gary Rogers resumed duties between the posts after joining up with the Republic of Ireland squad for Friday’s friendly game with the Netherlands.

The roar for him pre-match was loud, but even it paled in comparison to the reception afforded to another Dundalk hero at half-time. Richie Towell took to the field to accept his awards for the club’s Player of the Year and Top Goalscorer in 2015, making a stop-off in Louth after his play-off exertions with Brighton.

On his return, he witnessed the Lilywhites fall behind to a shock 12th-minute goal. In the absence of Danny Furlong, Paul Murphy was leading the Youths’ attack and he found himself in acres of space in the middle of the park before advancing and letting fly from 25 yards. The ball squirmed under Rogers, who may have done better.

Rogers denied John Bonner and then David McMillan twice went close before the home side got their leveller. Ronan Finn sent in a cross from the right and when McMillan’s header was partially blocked, it fell into the onrushing Horgan’s path. The winger sidefooted home.

Shane Keegan’s outfit were proving obdurate opposition. They weren’t there merely to pay the champions respect and their tenacity paid off when they regained the lead after half-time.

A Youths attack appeared to have ended when Meenan picked up the ball on the right, but he was brushed off it all too easily. Eric Molloy strode into the area and beat Rogers with a low shot at the near post.

Dundalk sought a route back into the game and that came 14 minutes from time. Meenan made amends for his part in Wexford’s second when his corner from the left went over Doyle and straight in.

The winner came from another substitute three minutes into stoppage time. Making his first appearance in five weeks, McEleney slotted the ball past Doyle as Oriel Park erupted.

Dundalk: Gary Rogers, Sean Gannon (Stephen O’Donnell, 74), Brian Gartland, Andy Boyle, Dane Massey, Chris Shields, Robbie Benson (Patrick McEleney, 64), John Mountney (Darren Meenan, 46), Ronan Finn, Daryl Horgan, David McMillan.

Wexford Youths: Graham Doyle, Craig McCabe, Stephen Last, Ryan Delaney, Aidan Friel, Chris Kenny, John Bonner, Shane Dunne (Danny Furlong, 88), Eric Molloy, Andrew Mulligan, Paul Murphy (Gary Delaney, 89).

Referee: Neil Doyle (Dublin)

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