Athlone end winless run with merited home victory

Athlone Town 3 Wexford FC 1

Victory over Wexford FC at home last Friday night saw Athlone end a barren spell which stretched back to March. The Town had gone on a run of fourteen games without a win since collecting full points in Bray.

A first senior goal for Paddy Kelly after six minutes was cancelled out by a Wexford equaliser early in the second half. However, the home team finished strongly and two late goals sealed victory, stretching their unbeaten run now to three games.

Jamie Hamilton made his home debut in midfield and the former Bohemians player played his part in the success. With top scorer Dean Williams having left the club, Athlone's opening goal therefore came from an unlikely source. The home team hit the front after just six minutes. From their first corner kick which was taken by Darren Meenan, centre half Kelly arrived unopposed to head to the net from the edge of the six yard box. It was the perfect start for Athlone but one that was not built upon.

The remainder of the half contained little further action being best forgotten. Wexford had a couple of chances but a lack of scoring power was evident. A Ricky Fox free kick from the right was the first danger while a slip up by Aaron Myles was not capitalised upon. The Town keeper failed to safely gather a cross from the right but the resulting danger was cleared.

Athlone had a chance just before the break to double their advantage. Meenan was again involved but Evan Pierce was unable to get power behind the right wing cross as Corey Chambers gathered safely at his near post. Athlone with a slender lead then when the half time whistle sounded.

There was much more goalmouth action when play resumed with Wexford rewarded for their lively restart with the equaliser. Fox sent in a cross from the left on 51 minutes which unhinged the home defence. The ball fell to Sean Roche who fired to the net from inside the penalty area.

Athlone recovered from conceding and then proceed to dominate with no reward until the closing stages. Dean Casey’s volley was cleared behind while Hamilton later on should have capped his home debut with a goal but fired over an unguarded net.

The lead was restored though after 72 minutes following a corner kick. Casey played the ball short to Meenan. The cross picked out Pierce who found the net with a well-placed header.

Athlone conceded an equaliser in stoppage time last time out at home but there was no repeat performance on this occasion. Dean George proved to be the Town hero with the insurance goal against his former club. As the game edged towards the 90 minute mark, Casey sent in a cross from the left to set up the substitute. Chambers got a block on the shot but could do little to prevent the ball spinning back into the net. A first win since March was soon being celebrated.

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