In the end, it took a free from Seán McCormack with the last kick of the game to rescue Longford but given that they had been in arrears for the majority of the game, Wexford couldn’t be too disappointed.
The decision by referee Michael Collins to penalise either Ray Tierney or Eric Bradley – or both – for their challenges on Paul Kelly seemed marginal but he was in the right position to make the call.
Longford manager, Glenn Ryan certainly wasn’t complaining and was very keen to extract the positives.
“We were in the lead for 85% of the game but I’m not deflated by any stretch. It’s a funny one to look back on but we get another game in the championship which is great.
Longford led at half-time by two points despite Wexford having much more of the play. In the
second half, Longford took charge at midfield but ironically, found it more difficult to locate Brian Kavanagh and McCormack as much as in the opening period.
Wexford did kick some tremendous scores and it was wing-back, Adrian Flynn who was the star of the show, launching five points from play.
Longford opened the scoring thanks to a fine second minute point from the brilliant Kavanagh, after good direct work by McCormack.
Ciarán Lyng had Wexford level very promptly, courtesy of his trusty left boot and after wasting an earlier effort, Flynn came forward to launch a wonderful effort from the left wing with the outside of his right boot.
Kavanagh brought the sides level and then exchanged scores with Flynn, before the lively McCormack pointed a free after being fouled himself.
The Killoe marksman had a tremendous chance to goal in the 22nd minute but his low shot was saved by Wexford goalkeeper, Anthony Masterson.
Almost immediately, Niall Mulligan screwed another effort horribly wide from the 13 metre line with only Masterson to beat.
When Mulligan was hauled down by Dáithí Waters in the square on the half-hour mark though, Paul Barden made no mistake from the penalty spot. With Kavanagh landing four points in total, Longford led by 1-6 to 0-7 at the break.
Wexford manager Jason Ryan galvanised his players at half-time and they came out with three points on the trot to edge in front.
Redmond Barry got them on their way and Flynn brought them level with a brace that brought his tally to five.
The irrepressible Barden reinvigorated Longford with a 44th minute goal off the underside of the crossbar, and his brother David almost sealed the game from the next attack but was denied by Masterson.
Wexford settled again with points from Barry and Ciarán Lyng and Brosnan brought the sides level three minutes from time.
Tierney surprised everyone when popping up on Lyng’s shoulder in the 69th minute before firing over on the run, and it looked like Longford’s hearts would be broken before McCormack gave them a second bite.
“When you go a point down with a minute or two to go and especially when you have been in front for most of the game it’s hard to see it coming back but during the second half I thought we were the last pass short of creating something” said Ryan.
“When chances come you have to take them and hopefully we’ll get those opportunities the next day.”
Scorers for Longford: P Barden 2-0 (1-0p), B Kavanagh, S McCormack (2fs) 0-4 each, N Mulligan 0-1.
Scorers for Wexford: A Flynn 0-5, C Lyng (1f), B Brosnan (3fs) 0-3 each, R Barry 0-2, E Bradley, R Tierney 0-1 each.
LONGFORD: D Sheridan; D Brady, B Gilleran, D Reilly; CP Smyth, M Quinn, S Mulligan; B McElvaney, J Keegan; D Barden, P Barden, N Mulligan; D McEWlligott, B Kavanagh, S McCormack.
Subs: P Kelly for D Barden blood (51-54), Kelly for McElligott (56).
WEXFORD: A Masterson; N Murphy, G Molloy, R Tierney; L Chin, B Malone, A Flynn; D Waters, R Quinlivan; C Carty, E Bradley, B Brosnan; C Lyng, R Barry, S Roche.
Subs: PJ Banville for Carty (40), P Byrne for Roche (56), C Morris for Quinlivan (64), J Wadding for Flynn (70+1).
Referee: M Collins (Cork).