DROGHEDA UNITED 0 ATHLONE TOWN 2
Taner Dogan scored one of the goals of the season as Athlone Town knocked Drogheda United off the top of the table in United Park last Friday night.
The midfielder’s opportunistic effort in the second half from just inside the Drogheda half was spectacular and worthy of winning any game. Ronan Manning had already put the Town in front from the penalty spot and Dogan’s delightful effort put the icing on the cake. Adrian Carberry’s men have now collected a third win in five games to establish themselves as one of the form teams after a poor start to the 2020 season.
Athlone had claimed their first home point of the season against Drogheda and would have gratefully accepted a similar outcome in the return game. The hosts were on a good run which had taken them to the top and, with Mark Doyle firing in the goals, were confident.
The Drogs striker had the first chance when heading over. Chris Lyons was then denied by Aaron Myles as United went in search of an early opener. Athlone soon settled with Dean George heading over a left-wing cross after 17 minutes.
Midway through the half, the Town strikers shot from the left was tipped behind. James Brown and Jake Hyland were both off target for United but Athlone finished the half on top. George, Adam Lennon and Manning came close, while Dogan was also denied in stoppage time.
Although Athlone had done well thus far, it seemed just a matter of time before United would break the deadlock. The hosts earned three corners in a short spell of dominance.
George had a further attempt on goal saved by the home keeper as Athlone continued to impress, but it was still a shock when the visitors opened the scoring after 71 minutes. Mark Birrane created the opening which lead to Dogan being fouled inside the box. Manning kept up his impressive spot kick record with another clinical strike.
Drogheda were in shock but were still expected to respond with 20 minutes left to play. With second placed Bray ahead against UCD, manager Tim Clancy was apprehensive though.
Athlone were keeping it tight at the back and with Doyle and Lyons off form, a shock was in store. Athlone increased their lead when Dogan grabbed the headlines with a wonder strike after 83 minutes. Athlone were looking to break from their own half but were crowded out in the centre circle. Dogan gained possession and, spotting the keeper off his line, let fly with a shot to the roof of the net.
Lyons had a golden opportunity to stage a grandstand finish but somehow headed wide from close range with five minutes remaining. The miss summed up a bad night for the Louth men.
Athlone kept only their second clean sheet of the season as they held Drogheda at bay until the final whistle sounded. Two corner kicks in stoppage time were easily dealt with as Athlone were soon celebrating a shock win.