Late goal denies Athlone Town long overdue victory

ATHLONE TOWN 2 CABINTEELY FC 2

Athlone Town looked set to record their first win since March only to be denied by a stoppage time equaliser from Cabinteely at home on Friday night last.

The first half drew a blank, but the visitors opened the scoring from the first chance of the second half. The game turned Athlone's way with two goals in three minutes late in the half, which looked to have secured all three points for the hosts. A dramatic ending saw Cabinteely grab an equaliser in the second minute of stoppage time as Athlone failed to hold out.

In the last outing before the mid-season break, a much needed win for Athlone was on the agenda. It looked possible as Cabinteely had not tasted success since beating Longford in May. The opening half may have been scoreless but there were still a number of goalscoring chances created at either end.

Athlone earned the first corner kick of the game when Rhys Gorman’s free was put behind. The next action saw Evan Pierce have a shot saved by the Cabinteely keeper. Home number one Aaron Myles prevented the visitors from going ahead midway through the half. Top scorer Rob Manley looked set to score but Myles was quickly outside his penalty area to block the goalbound effort.

Manley was again denied by Myles who gathered the ball at the second attempt. Athlone finished the half the stronger. Five minutes before the break came the best opportunity but Stephen McGuinness made a brilliant save to push away a Dean Williams shot. Kaleem Simon then fired wide but the deadlock failed to broken.

All the goals arrived after the break with the visitors hitting the front from the first chance on 49 minutes. Paul Fox delivered a corner kick and Manley found the net with a powerful header from close range.

The home team responded through Simon who had a shot blocked. As the half progressed, it looked like Manley’s effort might win the game. Simon was again off target but the game was to turn dramatically in Athlone's favour with two quickfire scores.

The equaliser came on 72 minutes. The cross from the right by Simon was met by Pierce who beat the keeper at his near post with a sweet strike. It got even better for the hosts with the lead two minutes later when Williams found the target from the edge of the six yard box.

Athlone looked to wind down the clock and made a number of substitutions in an attempt at consolidating. All the changes added to the stoppage time to be played which was indicated as four additional minutes. Athlone got everybody behind the ball but were undone by a long ball from the away half in the second additional minute. The danger was not cleared and substitute Luke Clucas punished the Town by firing past the keeper’s right to the net.

There was little time left to launch a response with the spoils being shared when the final whistle soon sounded.

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