ATHLONE TOWN 0 SHAMROCK ROVERS II 4
Played behind closed doors, Athlone Town fans missed little as the home team put in their poorest display of the season.
New boys Shamrock Rovers II were the visitors last Friday night and easily collected their first away points following a one-sided contest. While the opening half was scoreless, the Hoops took control after the break scoring four goals without reply.
The first half had just a handful of chances at either end. Athlone’s Ronan Manning had the first chance but fired over. The home team earned the first corner kick of the game on 13 minutes while Max Murphy had the first away chance midway through.
Town goalkeeper, Aaron Myles, kept Rovers at bay when blocking a shot from Thomas Oluwa with the loose ball drifting wide. Manning had a further chance to add to his goal tally but fired over following a pass from Joel Coustrain.
The best chance for Athlone came just before the break. Darren Meenan set up Lee Duffy who was primed to score his third goal in as many games. Rovers did well in defence to block the shot at the expense of a corner kick. It was as close as the home team came to grabbing a goal.
There was little improvement from Athlone when play resumed. Again, the Hoops goalkeeper was never troubled. In contrast, Rovers ran in four goals in 25 minutes. The deadlock was finally broken on 55 minutes when Brandon Kavanagh made up for his earlier missed chances by slipping the ball past Myles.
There was no response from the home team. The lead was doubled midway through the half. Sean Brennan sent in a cross from the left which Murphy volleyed home past the keeper's right.
Rovers made it three nil with 72 minutes played, substitute Michael Leddy passing to Kavanagh who grabbed his second goal of the game.
Manager, Adrian Carberry, made four substitutions in the half but the spark was missing throughout from the Town attack. Adam Lennon did add some life down the right flank when introduced but Rovers cut out any danger.
Athlone’s first chance of the half came with a half an hour played when Manning was again off target. The rout was completed after 79 minutes. The home defence were again slack. Leddy had time to volley to the net following a left-wing cross.
Athlone could not even grab a consolation score in the closing stages. Lennon’s inviting ball from the right went across the goalmouth without getting a touch. Rovers had a chance to make it five in the penultimate minute but Myles tipped behind a shot from Aaron Wells. A corner kick in the final minute of stoppage time was not capitalised upon by the hosts.
There is a welcome break from league action at the weekend for the Town when the FAI Cup takes centre stage. In an all First Division clash, Wexford FC are the visitors on Friday night where the winners will progress to the quarter finals.