Galway United 1 Athlone Town 1
Athlone Town returned to action following the mid-season break when they travelled to take on Galway United at Eamon Deacy Park last Friday night.
The home team led one nil at half time but the Town shared the spoils following an equaliser just before the midway point of the second half. Dean Williams was successful from the penalty spot having been fouled in an incident which incensed the United support. There looked to have been minimal contact but Athlone availed of the opportunity to level matters. It halted a miserable run of away defeats stretching back to March as Athlone made it three draws from the last four games.
On a balmy evening in the West, there was a lot at stake. Athlone knew that a win would see them leapfrog over United into third from bottom spot. With former Bohemians midfielder Jamie Hamilton the only addition to the Town squad, manager Terry Butler opted to keep some continuity in the ranks.
The game was slow to come to life with little excitement in the early stages. Evan Pierce had the first chance for Athlone but his header cleared the bar. An early penalty shout involving Williams was turned down. Galway recovered to create some chances of their own. Marc Ludden’s shot hopped against the upright with Vinny Faherty off target with a headed effort. Goalkeeper Aaron Myles also denied Mark Hannon.
At the other end, home keeper Kevin Horgan was alert to the danger after poor defending had afforded Shane Dunne an opportunity. It was Galway that eventually opened the scoring after 30 minutes play. The home team worked the ball from the left to the centre some 25 yards from the Town goal. Wilson Waweru did well to made space for a shot and gave Myles no chance with a fantastic strike.
Athlone's best chance of equalising before the break came from a free kick. Rhys Gorman though was unable to keep the ball down and trouble the keeper. Last chance of the half fell to Conor Melody but Athlone still had a fighting chance when the whistle sounded on 45 minutes.
Shortly after the restart, Galway came close to doubling their lead. Waweru was again involved but scooped over from close range. Kealan Dillon was then off target with an Athlone free. Darren Meenan and new signing Hamilton came on in quick succession and added renewed impetus to the away challenge. Williams had a chance to level matters only for Kevin Horgan to make a good save with his legs.
The Town top scorer was not to be further denied as he got the rub of the Green on 64 minutes. There looked to be minimal contact when Williams fell to the ground. Amazingly the referee pointed to the spot. The striker made no mistake with a low shot which left Horgan rooted to his line. Both teams could have grabbed a winner in the closing stages but a share of the spoils was probably the fairest outcome.