CAPE TOWN – Ajax Cape Town breathed a huge sigh of relief when the referee's final whistle signalled an end to a difficult match and confirmed their 1-0 victory over Bidvest Wits at the Athlone Stadium on Wednesday night.
It was a great result in the Cape side's bid for PSL safety - but, to put it all into perspective, it was a case of the task being completed but the job still far, far from done.
Ajax are still second-last on the league standings and they will need a few more victories in their remaining four games to stave off the ignominy of relegation or a play-off spot.
But what this result and performance does do is to boost the team's morale for Sunday's away fixture against Chippa United in Port Elizabeth.
The Cape side didn't come to play good football on Wednesday, they let Wits do all the playing.
The plan was to keep things compact and to play with a solid defensive shape and structure. And, on the break, they let the pace and energy of Yannick Zakri and Fagrie Lakay unsettle the opposition defence.
It wasn't vintage Ajax, but who cares... when a team is in such a parlous log position, then everything is about the result, it doesn't matter how it is achieved. The three points are in the bag, that's all that matters.
There was no doubt early on that the pressure of the situation had got to Ajax.
While they kept things tight defensively, they were just a bundle of nerves in attack. There were some promising moments from Zakri and Lakay, but the final decisive moment was missing.
At the other end, the Clever Boys showed that they had clearly come to make things difficult for the struggling Capetonians as Thabang Monare crashed an attempt wide and goalkeeper Jody February did well to cut out a dangerous-looking cross from Nazeer Allie.
Ajax were always going to need something special to galvanize things, and they got it from the exciting Ivorian Zakri. Latching on to a pass from Lakay, the forward sped passed a few Wits defenders and coolly tucked the ball into the net.
It was the goal the Urban Warriors desperately needed, not just with regard to the result but also to calm down the boiling emotions of everyone in the squad.
Wits dominated proceedings, but they never really looked like they could break down the Cape side’s resolute defence. Monare and Vincent Pule went close, and just before the break, Lehlohonolo Majoro thudded the ball against the cross bar from close in.
Ajax were always threatening on the counter, though, and they were unfortunate not to add to their advantage as Tercious Malepe hoofed a shot wide and Lakay had a swerving shot brilliantly saved by Wits goalkeeper Darren Keet.
Five minutes before the close, after another swift counter, Lakay should really have sealed it, but ballooned the ball over the bar.
In the end, though, Ajax got the win they wanted - and now they need to make sure they maintain that momentum until the end of the season.