Shoots of optimism as Athlone lose opening league fixture


Action finally started for Athlone Town in the SSE Airtricity League First Division after the opening night game against Galway United had been postponed.

Adrian Carberry took charge for the first time but it was a losing start as Cabinteely FC returned home with full points last Friday night. The scoring was opened by Cabinteely after 34 minutes but a missed penalty denied Athlone a draw at half time. An equaliser from new signing Ronan Manning did arrive early in the second half but Cabinteely made it two wins from two with late goals.

A new look starting eleven lined out for Athlone with six players making their Town debut.

The game took some time to come to life. Kieran Marty Waters had the first chance for the visitors with Alex Aspil also off target. THe first home chance came on the quarter hour mark but Adam Lennon’s inviting right wing cross was collected by the keeper. The best chance to date arrived after 21 minutes but Aaron Myles did well to block a shot from Cabinteely’s Vilius Labutis on the edge of the six-yard box.

Midway through the half another new signing Scott Delaney got on the end of a Darren Meenan free kick but screwed his effort wide. Athlone earned the first corner kick after 34 minutes with Manning coming close to touching home Meenan’s delivery.

Soon after the deadlock was broken. Labutis attacked from half way and, as the home cover scattered, chipped the ball over the advancing keeper from the edge of the penalty box.

Athlone had two chances to draw level before the break. After 40 minutes, Lennon blasted over after a delightful through ball from Manning. Two minutes later Athlone were awarded a penalty kick after Joel Coustrain was fouled, Meenan sent the keeper the wrong way but the ball bounced off the bar.

The hosts were the first to attack when play resumed and were back on level terms with four minutes played. An offensive down the right had the Cabo defence in a tangle. Lennon took advantage to gain possession and square the loose ball to Manning, the finish being first class.

Athlone failed to build on their goal however as Cabinteely then had the better chances to retake the lead. Waters and Daniel Blackbyrne both headed wide but Cabinteely went back in front with 68 minutes played.

Shane Barnes had been introduced as a substitute and weighed in with two goals. A throw in on the stand side was headed onto Barnes who slipped the ball past Myles from the edge of the six-yard box. Manning had a chance on 76 minutes to grab an equaliser but fired wide under pressure from two defenders.

The visitors were more clinical and grabbed a third goal with less than fifteen minutes remaining as Barnes beat Myles from the right edge of the penalty area. Athlone’s ultimate chance came from a free kick but John Morgan’s attempt flew over the bar.


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