CABINTEELY FC 3 ATHLONE TOWN 1
Cabinteely sealed their place in the First Division promotion play offs for the first time in the club's history after beating Athlone Town in Stradbrook last Friday night.
Cabinteely had all the early chances. A corner kick after 18 minutes was the first time Athlone were seen as an attacking force. A home corner was earned after just three minutes play with Paul Fox then firing wide. This was followed by a series of shots which peppered the Athlone goal, ending with Rob Manley’s strike being cleared with a further corner kick following.
The scoring was eventually opened after 21 minutes from Cabinteely’s fourth corner of the contest. The delivery from Keith Dalton was headed down by Conor Keeley to Kieran Waters who found the net from close range. Athlone came more into contention as the midway point in the half passed. Two corners were earned in quick succession with Shane Dunne then firing wide.
The game was settled though with two goals in as many minutes from the hosts. On 29 minutes, Waters again shot past the keeper’s right into the net. The visitors barely had time to recover when they found themselves further in arrears. Again the Town defence was carved open as the ball was worked across the edge of the penalty area. Manley finished the good move with a neat strike past the keeper’s right. The main danger for the remainder of the half came from dead balls. Two corners each were earned but did not yield a dividend.
Cabinteely were content to sit on their lead when play resumed as Athlone grabbed the only goal of the second half. The half was just two minutes old when Nika Kalandarishvili gave the Town some hope with a goal. Stephen McGuinness was beaten at his near post when appearing to have the shot covered.
Athlone had more chances following this early score but it was Cabinteely that came closest to again finding the net. Aaron Myles made a great save while the woodwork further denied the home team. A Town corner was followed by Kealan Dillon firing over on 64 minutes.
Cabinteely were rarely seen on the attack but from their first chance midway through the half, their three goal lead was almost restored. Waters looked set to complete his hat trick with only the keeper to beat but Myles made a brilliant save to push the ball behind.
Jean Poame had a chance following his introduction as a corner also kept the visitors on the offensive. Next home chance came after 77 minutes as Cabinteely came close to scoring a fourth goal. Manley was out of luck as he fired against the upright with the loose ball then cleared behind. Another Town corner was earned with Poame firing over. Two more corners fell Athlone's way in stoppage time but Cabinteely held firm to claim their play-off spot.