For the second consecutive meeting with UCD Waves at Jackson Park, Wexford Youths produced a late smash-and-grab as Laura Heffernan’s side came from behind three times to seal victory in a seven-goal thriller on Sunday afternoon.
With both sides coming into the game unbeaten in the league, it was Waves who started brightest and they took the lead inside the opening 90 seconds. After a quick throw-in down the right wing, the ball was worked to Kerri Letmon whose low shot across goal sailed into the bottom corner.
If UCD thought they were going to have things all their own way they were mistaken as less than two minutes later the visitors equalised through Jenny O’Keeffe. A corner from Emma Hansberry was headed back across goal by Jess Gleeson before O’Keeffe poked home from close range.
Soon after, Youths had a shout for a penalty turned down when Emily Cahill gifted possession to Kylie Murphy before the Youths skipper raced towards goal and the pair clashed inside the penalty area, however, referee Deirdre Nolan waved play on.
As UCD continued to press forward in search of the game’s third goal, Aine O’Gorman will be disappointed she failed to find the target with her headed effort from a Dearbhaile Beirne cross.
O’Gorman was involved again in Waves' next opportunity. First she released Julie-Ann Russell with a lovely cross field pass before Russell picked out her Ireland teammate on the edge of the box and her first time shot cannoned off the Youths crossbar.
Midway through the opening half, Waves restored their one-goal lead after a mistake at the back saw O’Keeffe’s clearance hit Orla Conlon before bouncing over the Youths goalline despite O’Keeffe’s best effort to retrieve possession.
Waves' lead lasted just three minutes as, after Brooke Dunne failed to clear a Hansberry free-kick, the ball fell to Murphy who slotted home from close range.
Moments later, Youths almost took the lead for the first time when Hansberry’s cross was sent goalwards by Waves full-back Jetta Berrill, but her miscued clearance cannoned of the woodwork before Waves cleared the danger.
With the host being pegged back for a second-time, O’Gorman looked to restore her side’s lead with an effort from the edge of the box, but Sophie Lenehen produced an excellent save to deny the forward.
As half-time loomed at a rain-soaked Jackson Park, Waves restored their lead for the third time when O’Gorman calmly slotted home from the penalty spot.
Youths almost hit back instantly for the third time after Becky Cassin found around Claire O’Riordan who beat the last defender but, despite being one-on-one with the Waves shot-stopper, the forward failed to find the target.
Waves almost doubled their advantage straight after the kick-off. Some neat play from Russell and O’Gorman saw the Galway native finding O’Gorman with a beautifully weighted cross, but her headed effort from close range sailed over the crossbar.
As Waves continued to pin Youths back inside their own half, Russell was next to try her luck after Beirne picked out the winger with a cross. She then cut inside and her curling effort was well saved by the Youths keeper.
Russell was involved again soon after as she skipped past Nicola Sinnott before picking out Kerri Letmon, whose close-range effort was excellently saved by the Youths shot-stopper.
After soaking up ample amounts of pressure from the hosts, Wexford equalised with 18 minutes remaining when Murphy’s long-range effort appeared to deceive Dunne in the UCD goal.
With their heads now up, Youths grabbed what proved to be the winning goal six minutes later. A long ball from Linda Douglas appeared to skip off the damp surface before hitting Nolan’s knee and sailing into her own net.
Youths nearly doubled their advantage in the closing stages after a Hansberry corner picked out O’Riordan, but her headed effort bounced off the woodwork before Waves hooked the ball to safety.
UCD almost snatched a point with 90 seconds remaining after O’Gorman picked out Russell with a lovely looping ball over the top, but the Waves winger failed to find the target.
The result sees Wexford leapfrogging UCD in the Women’s National League on goal difference. Next weekend they host league leaders Peamount United at Ferrycarrig Park, while the Waves must wait 13 days for their next outing.
UCD Waves: Brooke Dunne; Jetta Berrill, Rebekah Carroll, Emily Cahill, Aishling Dunbar (Catherine Cronin 89); Dearbhaile Beirne, Karen Duggan, Orlagh Nolan, Aine O‘Gorman, Julie Ann Russell; Kerri Letmon.
Subs Not Used: Sinead Gaynor, Naima Chemaou, Lauren Kelly, Sophie O’Donoghue, Orla Haran, Maddie Edwards.
Booked: Orlagh Nolan (75), Rebekah Carroll (78).
Wexford Youths: Sophie Lenehen; Linda Douglas, Nicola Sinnott, Orla Conlon, Jenny O’Keeffe (Amy Walsh 75); Aisling Frawley, Jess Gleeson, Becky Cassin (Aoibhin Webb 55), Kylie Murphy, Emma Hansberry; Claire O’Riordan.
Subs Not Used: Rachel Hutchinson, Ally O’Keeffe, Siobhan Doolan, Chelsea Snell, Amy Wilson.
Booked: Becky Cassin (13), Jenny O’Keeffe (29).
Referee: Deirdre Nolan.
Attendance: 85 (estimate).
Extratime.ie Player of the Match: JulieAnn Russell (UCD Waves).