Champions League Report: Ajax Women 4 - 1 Wexford Youths Women

Tue, Aug 07 2018

Youths players in conference. Credit: Al Robinson

Dave Donnelly reports from Seaview 

Wexford Youths' dreams of a famous Champions League over Ajax were snatched away within minutes on Tuesday night but it's a night that will live on in the club's folklore.

Youths have had good results and performances against big European opposition in the past – wins over Gintra and Cardiff Met in Poland stick out – but nothing on the scale of the Dutch champions.

The Eredivisie side have a budget that's counted in the seven figures, while all of Wexford's players are amateur, working or studying on the sides, but for long spells that gap didn't seem to matter.

And when Rianna Jarrett – playing in her first European game after missing the last two campaigns with ACL injuries – burst the net with a powerful header, the upset was on.

It would potentially have been one the biggest upsets in domestic Irish football history but, alas, order was soon restored and the Dutch equalised within two minutes and were ahead within six.

Goals from Kay-Lee de Sanders and international Ellen Jansen put Ajax in front and they rarely looked like surrendering it from there, Lois Oudemast and Liza van der Most adding two more.

Youths simply ran out of gas against a side with the capacity to train six days a week, and whose technical ability allowed them to force Wexford into chasing shadows at times in the second half.

It was a whole different story before the break where Wexford, while surrendering most of the possession, looked comfortable in defence against a side stacked with full internationals.

Nicola Sinnott and Orlaith Conlon were rocks at the back, time and time again showing fleet foot to snuff out danger at the source, while Emma Hansberry was outstanding in a deeper midfield role.

Huff and puff though the Dutch did, they created little, and their best chance came when Vanity Lewerissa stretched the play out and found Verhoeve coming in off the opposite wing, but Ciamh Dollard bravely dove at her feet and shipped a knock for the trouble.

Hansberry had gained something of a reputation for spectacular long-range goals and she looked to add another to her reel when picked out by Aisling Frawley, but the bounce on the artificial turf at Seaview played against her.

If anything it was Wexford who went in the side with a pep in their step, having weathered any potential early storm and found a few areas they could exploit with the direct running of Frawley and Katrina Parrock.

And a foul on Parrock early in the half allowed Hansberry the chance to swing the ball in the box. Her delivery was perfect and Jarrett did the rest, planting an unstoppable header in the corner, sparking delirium.

Perhaps the elation hadn't quite settled down when Ajax quickly won a corner at the opposite end and Marthe Munsterman found an unmarked der Sanders, whose low header probably shouldn't have been hooked away before finding the corner.

If the equaliser was sloppy, Ajax took the lead with a goal of genuine class, player-of-the-match Verhoeve hanging up a beautifully-weighted diagonal ball for Jansen to flick past the blameless Dollard.

The Dutch having finally upped the tempo, it looked like it could turn into a long night for Youths but, to their credit, they dug in and were unfortunate to ship two more goals before the end.

Verhoeve got the better of the excellent Doireann Fahey on the right before picking out her captain Oudemast in the six-yard box, and she took advantage of tired legs to roll the ball in the corner.

Verhoeve then hit the bar with a rocket of a volley that, on another day, would have cannoned off the underside of the bar and into the goal inside of bouncing the other direction.

Goal number four did arrive as the full-back van der Most sent a hopeful cross into the box that fortuitously hung in the air and over the despairing dive of Dollard.

The scoreline flattered the clinical Dutch side, who will almost certainly take nine points and qualification for the knockouts now, but for Youths the positives are myriad.

Ajax: Marieke Ubachs; Liza van der Most, Kay-Lee de Sanders, Line Roddik, Kika von Es; Lois Oudemast (Iina Salmi 70), Kelly Zeeman, Marthe Munsterman; Soraya Verhoeve (Kirsten van der Westeringh 82), Vanity Lewerissa (Eshly Bakker 66), Ellen Jansen.

Subs not used: Aukje van Seijst (gk), Linda Bakker, Vita van der Linden, Nikita Tromp.

Booked: Kelly Zeeman (36).

Wexford Youths: Ciamh Dollard; Nicola Sinnott, Orlaith Conlon, Lauren Dwyer, Doireann Fahey; Edel Kennedy, Kylie Murphy (Orla Casey 70), Emma Hansberry; Aisling Frawley (McKenna Davidson 81), Katrina Parrock (Becky Conroy 60), Rianna Jarrett.

Subs not used: Sophie Lenehan (gk), Ciara Delaney, Aoife Slattery, Rebekah Cassin.

Booked: Doireann Fahey (62).

Referee: Maria Marotta (Italy).

Attendance: 200 (estimate).

Extratime.ie Player of the Match: Soraya Verhoeve (Ajax).