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ūüé• U15 | We caught up with Jesse Dempsey at training earlier this week, the young striker looking forward to Sunday. https://t.co/KmI3FaJLgR

Goals from Kaleem Simon (2) and Jack Doherty secured a well deserved victory for Wexford FC away to Athlone Town last night, the three points catapulting the Ferrycarrig men up to fourth in the SSE Airtricity League First Division table with five points after four series of games. The only downside on a fantastic return to action was a bad head injury to Conor English who had to withdraw from the game midway through the first half.

The game at Athlone Town Stadium saw a Wexford debut for new signing Ola Adeyemo while Jack Doherty scored on his return to the pink jersey. Wexford started with Tom Murphy in goal, a back four of Karl Fitzsimons, Dan Tobin (c), James Carroll and Craig Giles. In the middle: Karl Manahan, Conor Crowley and Kaleem Simon with Conor English and Jack Doherty playing behind frontman Adeyemo. 

The Athlone team sheet featured a couple of familiar names to the Ferrycarrig faithful, John Morgan as captain with Dean George on the bench, Lee Duffy missing out after signing for the midland club during the week. 

Wexford took the lead in the 18th minute from the penalty spot after Conor Crowley (bandaged after an early knock to the head) was fouled in the box as he was about to strike. Up stepped Jack Doherty who blasted past Myles to open the scoring (Doherty struck from the spot against Athlone in the 2019 League opener and also scored against Athlone in the return fixture at Ferrycarrig Park later that year).

The Wexford lead was short-lived however, Ronan Manning finding the corner of the net with a super right foot finish in the 22nd minute. 

Charlie Smith entered the fray in the 25th minute, replacing the injured Conor English and the young winger was quickly in the thick of the action, firing a dangerous low cross in to Simon, Scott Delaney fortunate to see the ball hit the woodwork from his attempt to intercept. Smith came close himself shortly after, heading Carroll's cross over the crossbar.

The home team started to put some pressure on Wexford after those close calls and forced a number of excellent defensive tackles, first from Fitzsimons who did brilliantly not to concede a penalty with a super well timed challenge on Coustrain in the box and then Giles who did well to get his body in front of the lively Manning after a dangerous through ball. Adam Lennon forced a decent save from Tom Murphy just before the break.

Wexford came out strong in the second half and retook the lead on the hour, Simon racing onto a Carroll clearance and nicking it past the advancing Athlone keeper to shoot into an open net. The away team continued to look the most likely to add to the scoreline with blocked efforts from Simon and Doherty. 

Changes from the home team did inspire a spell of concerted pressure, a quick succession of corners and good efforts from Lennon and Manning from outside the box. Wexford defended well though and always looked dangerous with direct balls to Adeyemo who led the line well all night. In the end it was another one of those long passes forward which led to the killer third goal, Crowley the provider on this occasion. The target was Simon who raced into the box and beat a defender before curling an immaculate finish past the Athlone keeper to make it 3-1 with fifteen left on the clock.

Wexford managed the final few minutes of the game superbly and although the home team battled right to the final whistle, there was never any real doubt of the final outcome.

Next up for Wexford are unbeaten League leaders Cabinteely at Ferrycarrig Park on Friday.

Wexford FC: Tom Murphy, Karl Fitzsimons, James Carroll, Dan Tobin (c), Craig Giles, Karl Manahan, Conor Crowley, Kaleem Simon, Conor English (Charlie Smith 25'), Jack Doherty (Jay Amour 89')and Ola Adeyemo.  Unused Subs: Malike Hill Benrouguibi, Kevin McEvoy, Azeez Yusuff and Jack Lydon.

Athlone Town: Aaron Myles, John Morgan (c) (Jack Reynolds 61'), Ciaran Grogan, Scott Delaney, Evan White (Jordan Carr 61'), Taner Dogan, Ronan Manning, Adam Lennon (Dean George 86'), Joel Coustrain, Tumedlo Alou and David Brookes.  Unused Subs: Harry Cornally, Bradley Okaidja and Darcy Lawless. 

Check out the match highlights below:

 

 

 

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