Athlone Town had the chance to head into the mid-season break with their first away point of the season but came out the wrong side of a refereeing decision. As a result, the long journey home from St Colman’s Park last Friday night was a frustrating one for Terry Butler’s men.
Cobh Ramblers struck for the only goal of the game late in the second half when the referee’s assistant adjudged that the ball had crossed the line from an Ian Mylod strike. Athlone still had enough chances to grab a share of the spoils but could not take advantage from any of the opportunities created.
With the break looming, both teams were anxious to head off with a confidence boosting win. Cobh had the first chance when Stephen Christopher headed over a right wing cross. Athlone responded with their first corner kick which was soon followed by a second.
Both teams continued to create chances with the Town in action after 13 minutes. A Josh Hogan free kick from the left was punched clear by Paul Hunt but as Ian Fletcher returned the ball back towards the goal, the Cobh keeper safely gathered the ball. Anthony McAlavey came close to opening the scoring when his strike went narrowly wide of the post.
Athlone forced a further corner after 18 minutes. Midway through the half, David Hurley’s headed effort was smothered on his line by Darcy Lawless. Hurley had another attempt blocked with Jaze Kabia off target with a header.
Lawless again denied Hurley with Athlone’s Aaron Brilly then having a shot deflected behind. The busy visiting keeper was again in action when pushing behind a Matthew Lamb free kick. Athlone’s last chance of the half fell to new signing Nika Kalandarishvili but Hunt denied the Georgian midfielder.
Athlone had a great opportunity to hit the front on the resumption of play, but Brilly somehow scooped the ball over the bar from close range following a pass from half time substitute George Mukete. Cobh’s frustration continued when McAlavey and Kabia further failed to find the target. Athlone then had another good chance to take the lead. Kalandarishvili and Mukete linked up but new signing Sodiq Oguntola fired wide.
The goal that proved to be the winner finally arrived on 72 minutes. Denzil Fernandez delivered a low cross from the right which saw substitute Mylod shoot goal wards. The danger was cleared as the referee allowed play to continue. The flag from his assistant though was raised to indicate a goal with the referee also happy that the ball had crossed the line.
It was further bad luck for Athlone but they had a chance to make an immediate response. Muketes strike went under the keeper but Hunt recovered to safely gather the ball. It proved to be the visitor’s last chance of grabbing an equaliser although they did force a late corner kick. The visitors could not take advantage of four additional minutes as they slumped to their ninth straight away defeat this season.