Early promise turns to nothing leaving Athlone in last place

David Brookes clears the ball under pressure from Waterford’s Anthony McAlavey during Athlone’s 3-1 defeat last weekend. Photo: Ashley Cahill/AC Sports Images

David Brookes clears the ball under pressure from Waterford’s Anthony McAlavey during Athlone’s 3-1 defeat last weekend. Photo: Ashley Cahill/AC Sports Images

Athlone Town went into last weekend’s game against Waterford determined to put their 5-1 drubbing at the hands of UCD behind them.

Manager Colin Fortune welcomed Athlone’s new signing Cormac Raftery into his starting 11, while Joey Maloney returned from injury. The Town’s other new signing, goalkeeper Dylan Owens, had to make do with a spot on the bench.

It was Athlone who opened the scoring on the night when Michael Monaghan slotted the ball passed Sheehan in the Waterford goal on six minutes. Ian Fletcher almost doubled Athlone’s lead just two minutes later but his close-range effort was superbly saved by Sheehan.

Waterford looked to have hit back on 12 minutes when Roddy Collins Jnr had the ball in the Athlone net, but the effort was ruled out for offside. Athlone escaped another scare on 23 minutes when Joey Maloney appeared to block a Philly Gorman shot on the line with his hand, but the referee waved away Waterford protestations.

However, the equaliser was just three minutes away. Athlone defender Jack Quinn inadvertently turned a Dean Walsh cross past his own keeper, and so the teams left the field at the interval all square at 1-1.

Waterford started the second half brightly and it was a little under 10 minutes in when they took the lead, with Toyeeb Mustapha firing home from close range after Jamie Quinn had stopped a shot from Owen Wall. Waterford kept the pressure on for the remainder of the half and went close a couple of times through further efforts from Gorman and Wall.

With just eight minutes left in the match Gorman finally found the net to make it 3-1 and put the game out of Athlone’s reach. The defeat, Athlone’s fourth on the bounce, leaves Athlone rooted to the bottom of the table. Next up for Athlone is Cobh Ramblers on Saturday, August 13. Kick off is scheduled for 7.45pm.

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