Athlone take home point from Limerick away trip

Nika Kalandarishvili celebrates giving Athlone Town a 42nd minute lead against Limerick FC at Markets Field. 
CREDIT: Ashley Cahill - AC Sports Images.

Nika Kalandarishvili celebrates giving Athlone Town a 42nd minute lead against Limerick FC at Markets Field. CREDIT: Ashley Cahill - AC Sports Images.

Limerick FC 1 Athlone Town 1

Athlone Town were looking to bounce back from their early exit out of the FAI Cup when they travelled to the Markets Field to take on Limerick FC last Friday night. Terry Butler’s men responded positively as they shared the spoils with the home team.

Kealan Dillon handed the Town a halftime lead but Limerick equalised during the second half. Both teams carved out a number of chances to win the game but a point apiece was probably a fair result.

It has been a disappointing campaign for both clubs, down on their luck recently having lifted league titles in the past. With little at stake, it was an open game of football with lots of chances.

Shane Tracy fired over after four minutes for Limerick. From the first corner earned by the hosts, Ciaran O’Reilly was also off target.

Athlone's first chance after 12 minutes might have led to the opening goal but Dillon mishit his shot from in front of the target. Limerick, though, were on top in the early stages and four corners in seven minutes kept Athlone pegged back. The Town survived and carved out a number of good chances themselves as the half progressed.

Nika Kalandarishvili had a shot blocked, with Jack Brady then quickly out to save at the feet of Evan Pierce. Athlone keeper Aaron Myles was also in fine form as he blocked at his near post a shot from Edmond O’Dwyer. Dillon fired just wide on 38 minutes but Athlone took the lead five minutes later. Jamie Hamilton delivered a cross from the left and Kalandarishvili headed home at the far post from close range.

Athlone were on course to record a rare away win but losing possession just before the hour mark almost proved costly. Adam Foley counter attacked and set up Karl O’Sullivan on the right. Limerick were set to equalise but the shot went across the goalmouth and wide as the keeper advanced. Athlone were again in luck when Foley headed wide from close range after a Jason Hughes volley had been blocked.

The chances continued to be created at both ends and midway through the half, Athlone had another opportunity to double their lead. Pierce did well to force his way past the Limerick defensive cover but fired straight at the keeper with the goal at his mercy. Foley was denied at the other end by Myles but the equaliser came with 15 minutes remaining. It was a freak score as substitute Darren Murphy’s strike was sliced past Myles for an own goal.

Athlone soon had a chance to respond but Dillon, from in front of the target, shot over. Limerick might have stolen all three points in the closing stages as they piled on the pressure. Tracy fired wide while substitute Kieran Hanlon had a goalbound effort cleared away.

Athlone held out to share the spoils but at least six other good goalscoring chances should have left the fans with more than just two goals to cheer.

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