ATHLONE TOWN 1 LIMERICK FC 1
Limerick FC survived a stoppage time penalty scare to travel home with a point against Athlone Town last Friday night, but it was a case of two points dropped for the hosts as they dominated for long periods.
Victory could have been sealed though from the penalty spot in almost the last action of the game. Killian Brouder did handle the ball inside the penalty area but the referee adjudged that it was unintentional. Kealan Dillon had earlier put Athlone in front midway through the first half, but Limerick levelled matters just before the hour mark. It was one of only two chances created by Tommy Barrett’s men.
Athlone totally dominated the opening half but had just a single score to show for all their efforts. It proved to be a slim lead with a second goal needed to kill off the opposition. Limerick were poor but still conjured up an unlikely equaliser when play resumed.
Town keeper, Aaron Myles did not have to make one save in the opening half. From the game’s first corner kick on nine minutes, the attack ended when Paddy Kelly sent a John Morgan cross from the left off target. Kaleem Simon followed by also firing wide with top scorer Dean Williams having a shot blocked.
The misses continued with Aaron Brilly firing over but Athlone went in front after 22 minutes. Shane Stokes did well to keep the ball in play as Limerick captain Shaun Kelly tried to shepherd the ball wide. The cross was cleared by Robbie Williams but only as far as Simon. Athlone's Williams picked up on the loose ball to set up Dillon on the edge of the penalty area. The finish from the Town number ten was top class as the volley flew into the roof of the net.
Dillon almost replicated his goal moments later but a long range effort was parried by the keeper. Williams had a chance to double the lead but saw his goalbound strike blocked. Stokes had the last chance of the half but failed to connect properly with the ball on the left.
When play resumed, Athlone were again in positive mood with Simon created another opening from the left. Kelly was off target when heading wide a Dillon free kick but, from their first chance of the game on 57 minutes, Limerick came close to equalising. Substitute Colm Walsh O’Loughlin passed to Connor Ellis whose shot was pushed behind by Myles. The resulting corner kick was Limerick's sole effort in the game.
From their only other chance in the game two minutes later the Blues levelled. An Athlone attack broke down allowing Limerick to gain possession. The ball was played to Ellis who outstripped the home defence, sliding the ball past the advancing keeper to the net. It proved enough to share the spoils but there was late drama in stoppage time. Dean Casey’s shot hit Brouders arm as he fell to his left but the referee waved away genuine penalty appeals.