TWO first half goals helped Wexford Celtic cause a major surprise as they dumped Premier Division outfit Ajax Athletic out of the Air Con Mech Wexford Cup in their third round clash at Sinnottstown Lane on Sunday morning last
Wexford Celtic despite their poor form in the lower reaches of Division 2 set about their task from the kick-off and once they took a fifth minute lead they looked capable of an upset.
Indeed such was their first-half dominance they should have had their fourth round passage sealed by the interval as they tore a disappointing Ajax Athletic to shreds, but failed to capitalise on at least three further gilt edged goal opportunities in a half of total dominance.
Ajax Athletic for some strange reason looked way off the pace during that opening forty-five minutes. They were sluggish and cumersome in every fact of their play, and while they showed huge improvement in the second half, they still did not deserve to take anything from the game.
Wexford Celtic having opened at pace took the lead as early as the fifth minute. David Dunbar and Peter Murphy figured in a neat one-two, before Murphy sent over a delightful cross that was powered to the net by Dunbar from ten metres.
The goal seemed to leave Ajax Athletic shell shocked for their play went from bad to worse as the half progressed. Although Willie Hudson missed a great chance of forcing an equalisher he shot wide from a few metres out after just twelve minutes.
The second Wexford Celtic goal was the result of bazaar piece of defending. Willie Hendrick and keeper Keith Sheehan got their calls mixed with Hendrick's attempted back pass eluding the advancing Sheehan, leaving Peter Murphy to race on to the ball to tap into an empty net leaving the homeside leading 2-0 after just twenty-four minutes.
The spirghtly Murphy then was dendied on two separate occasions by the advancing Sheehan when he should have showed a more clinical finish from so close to goal, while David Dunbar also had another effort cleared off the line. Approaching the break the Celtic centre-back the veteran James Bridge somehow hooked a Willie Hudson goalbound attempt off the lead to secure a 2-0 interval lead for his side.
The second half was more enjoyable at Ajax Athletic came much more into the game. With Ricky Dwyer and James Buckly now winning more of the midfield possession, and Willie Hudson becoming more of a presence up front, they succeeded in getting right back into the game, when substitute James Redmond powered home a superb twenty metre effort after sixty-two minutes.
As the half progressed both sides created chances but the nearest Ajax Athletic ame to equalising when Benny Byrne got on the end of a Willie Hudson corner kick but pulled his shot just over the top. In a tense finish the Celtic back four held firm to secure a surprise fourth round passage.
Wexford Celtic: Donal O'Connor, Jay Dunbar, Johnny McManus, Barry McGrath, James Bridges, Stephen Moran, John Sheil, Conor Meyler, David Dunbar, Peter Murphy, Billy Martin. Subs: Tim McGrath, Stephen Redmond, James Murphy, Sean Byrne, Alan Keane.
Ajax Athletic: Keith Sheehan, Gavin Sludds, Willie Hendrick, Benny Byrne, Damian Mahon, James Buckley, Ray Freeman, Ricky Dwyer, Darren Browne, Sean Dugdale, Willie Hudson. Subs: James Redmond, Patrick O'Brien, Tomas Mahon, Garreth Larkin.
Referee: Michael Franklin.