#STRONGERTOGETHER

📸 Some final pics from Galway. Back in League action at home to Athlone on Monday night. https://t.co/zLqNUv84qM

Wexford FC were knocked out of the Extra.ie FAI Cup on Friday night after a thrilling Cup game at Athlone Town Stadium, the hosts advancing into the Quarter Finals and a €25,000 payday. Wexford suffered a similar AET defeat against Bray in the EA Sports Cup earlier this year.

It was a huge game for both sides who have found it hard going of late in the League. The departures of Kaleem Simon and Jay Amour Jnr have tested an already small Wexford squad, especially with games coming thick and fast. There was just one change to the side that were beaten by Drogheda at Ferrycarrig Park the previous Friday in the League, Conor English now fully recovered from injury and taking up the position vacated by Simon. The Athlone team included a few ex Wexford players in Lee Duffy, John Morgan, Dean George and Mark Birrane.

Wexford took the lead in the 15th minute after a generous handball decision against the hosts, Jack Doherty repeating his success from the League win in Lissywoolen earlier this season and despatching the penalty away with aplomb. There was more joy for Wexford three minutes later when Conor English blasted a right foot shot past Aaron Myles to double the lead, the Kilkenny man's third goal this season. 

The home team responded well to going behind, Lee Duffy forcing a good stop from Tom Murphy in the 24th minute and Jack Reynolds testing the Wexford keeper again with a left foot close range shot minutes later. Duffy, who was a thorn in Wexford's side all night, came close to getting Athlone back into the game in the 41st minute with a powerful left foot shot that Murphy blocked away. Despite the pressure from the home team, Wexford were inches away from getting a third goal right on the half time whistle when Charlie Smith turned brilliantly in the Athlone box and fired a left foot curler that beat Myles but hit the post.

The Town were right back in it with a goal seven minutes into the second half, Ronan Manning with an easy tap in and just two minutes later Athlone were level when Duffy fired in a free kick from the wing that evaded everyone and finished up in the back of the net. Wexford took a little while to recover from the shock of losing a two goal lead but eventually restored their advantage in the 67th minute, James Carroll with a cracking header from Conor Crowley's free kick for his first goal for the club. 

Lennon was unlucky not to tie the game up again in the 70th minute when his clipped right foot shot hit the crossbar but the home crowd didn't have too much longer to wait for another equaliser as Scott Delaney volleyed in from a corner seven minutes later to make it 3-3. Malike Hill Benrouguibi replaced Charlie Smith shortly after and had a good chance five minutes before the end but was off balance as he hit a left foot shot wide. Duffy had one final shot on goal just before the 90 minutes were up, his right foot effort curling wide.

Final whistle, 3-3 and the game went into Extra Time.

Athlone took the lead for the first time in the game just three minutes in, Duffy again with the goal from a free kick from the wing although it looked like it might have come off Karl Manahan on it's way in. Duffy's night came to an end four minutes later though, a late challenge on Conor English leading to his second yellow card and dismissal. The poor challenge resulted in English's departure, the winger coming off injured and Patrick O'Sullivan coming on in his place.

With the hosts down to 10 men, Wexford needed to calm things down and retain possession and control but remarkably Athlone added a fifth goal after capitalising on a loose pass at the back in the 103rd minute, Adam Lennon firing into the corner to send the home crowd into ecstasy.

Wexford had two great chances in the second period of Extra Time, Benrouiguibi's right foot shot was blocked off target and Crowley curled over just before the final whistle, the game finishing up 5-3 to Athlone who advance into the last 8.

Next up for Wexford, an away trip to Longford Town in the League tonight. Kick Off at Bishopsgate is at 7:45pm.

Wexford FC: Tom Murphy, Dan Tobin (c), James Carroll, Jay Nwanze, Craig Giles (Azeez Yusuff 115'), Karl Manahan, Conor Crowley, Karl Fitzsimons, Charlie Smith (Malike Hill Benrouguibi 80'), Conor English (Patrick O'Sullivan 98') and Jack Doherty.  Subs Not Used: Jack Lydon, Liam Berry, Kevin McEvoy and Kristian Crawford.

Athlone Town: Aaron Myles, David Brookes, Scott Delaney (c) (Evan White 115'), Ronan Manning, Taner Dogan (Bradley Okaidja 118'), Adam Lennon, Lee Duffy, Ciaran Grogan (John Morgan 88'), Tumelo Alou, Jack Reynolds (Jordan Carr 105') and Mark Birrane.  Subs Not Used: Darcy Lawless, Dean George  and Jordan Carroll.

You can watch the match highlights here:

 

 

 

 

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