Athlone Town slump to yet another defeat

The mid-season break in the Airtricity League did little to help Athlone Town as the Midlanders resumed with another defeat on Friday night.

The Town had headed into the break by losing in Cobh but the visit of Wexford FC appeared a more fruitful encounter. Wexford had won just two games all season and Athlone must have fancied their chances against their fellow strugglers. However, there was no revival in fortunes as Damien Locke’s men had little difficulty in claiming all three points. A first half score from a free kick proved sufficient as Athlone's losing streak continues.

Early prospects for Athlone were not promising with the visitors unlucky not to be two goals to the good with just 15 minutes played. Goalkeeper Darcy Lawless kept Wexford at bay with two fine saves. There was just six minutes played when Danny Doyle was denied on the edge of the penalty area.

The keeper further denied the striker when punching clear another attempt on goal. Wexford were dictating play and when the first home chance fell to George Mukete, his shot hit the side netting. Wexford should then have scored but Aaron Dobbs somehow fired over from six yards range following a left wing cross.

Doyle was also off target midway through the half but the only goal arrived after 34 minutes play. Dobbs raced clear of the defensive cover and when his pace proved too hot for Ciaran Grogan, the run was halted illegally on the right of the penalty area.

The centre half, on his Athlone debut, received a yellow card for his foul play. Further punishment followed when the resulting free kick found the net. John Morgan lined up the strike which had little difficulty in getting past a defensive wall which broke rather easily. Lawless lost track of the ball which bounced as it entered the six yard box and Athlone were behind.

Wexford further grew in confidence while the home response was disappointing. Nika Kalandarishvili sent a low ball from the left across the penalty area while Ian Fletcher fired off target. The first corner kick just before the break saw the delivery from Kalandarishvili go wide of the far post to compound home misery.

There was no Athlone revival when action resumed with a late flourish proving fruitless. Lawless was fortunate to see an opportunistic effort from George just clear the post after advancing well out of his goal. A shot from Dean Kelly was then tipped over by the Town keeper with Dobbs heading wide.

The home team’s first chance came with fifteen minutes remaining. Substitute Steve Grogan however blasted over when well placed in front of the target. There was a brief fightback in the closing stages but Corey Chambers comfortably collected a corner kick from Kalandarishvili. A shot from the Georgian was blocked behind but the resulting corner kick was wasted. Last chance fell to another substitute Brian Cabraley but his strike, which flew well wide, summed up another poor Athlone performance.

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