Cobh Ramblers 2 Athlone Town 1
By John Dingle
Athlone Town suffered their first defeat in four games as Stuart Ashton celebrated his first win as new manager of Cobh Ramblers. Athlone trailed by a goal to nil at half time in St Colman’s Park last Saturday evening. Goalkeeper Aaron Myles pulled off a number of fine saves to keep the Town in touch. They were rewarded early in the second half when Paddy Kelly grabbed his second goal in as many games. A foul by the centre half midway through the half proved costly as Cobh struck for the winner from the resulting free kick. Athlone piled forward in the closing stages but were unable to rescue their unbeaten record.
With new signing from Cabinteely Sean Fitzpatrick making his debut, Athlone were looking to record a second win at Cobh in 2019. Victory would have put Terry Butler’s men level with Ramblers on the 19 point mark. Athlone had the first chance of the game inside the first minute but Paul Hunt saved from Aaron Brilly. Cobh replied with two corner kicks.
Stephen O’Leary then drew the best from Myles who got down at his near post to put the ball behind. Charlie Lyons was next to be denied by the Town goalkeeper. Kelly then headed over from Athlone’s first corner kick which was taken by Darren Meenan. Ian Turner and O’Leary had further chances to put the hosts ahead. Athlone also came close and were denied by the woodwork after 25 minutes. Dean Casey sent in a cross from the left which Ollie Hamzat fired against the upright. The rebound was cleared behind for a corner. Hamzat had a further chance but Cobh struck for the opening goal after 41 minutes’ play. Cameron Harlson sent in a cross from the end line and O’Leary was on hand to head to the net from close range, Cobh taking a slender lead into the half time break.
The second half was just two minutes old when Athlone grabbed an equaliser. Jamie Hamilton sent in a free kick from the right and, in a crowded goalmouth, Kelly forced the ball home from close range. Cobh were rattled as Athlone now pushed for the lead. Brilly volleyed just wide from the edge of the box with Hamilton also off target. Best chance fell to Casey but his shot was blocked by the keeper.
Cobh struck for what proved to be the winner after 68 minutes, somewhat against the run of play. Kelly was penalised for a high challenge just inside his own half. A booking was also picked up and further punishment followed. The free kick from Stephen Christopher picked out Jamie O’Sullivan on the edge of the six yard box. The powerful header gave Myles no chance of saving this time. Athlone were deflated and Cobh could have increased their lead in the remaining minutes. Myles again kept the hosts at bay and in spite of staging a late rally, Athlone were unable to get back on level terms.