Dogan’s wonder strike a moment to savour in Athlone Town season

Taner Dogan celebrates his wonder goal against Drogheda United during Athlone’s stand out league campaign victory.  Photograph by AC Sports Images.

Taner Dogan celebrates his wonder goal against Drogheda United during Athlone’s stand out league campaign victory. Photograph by AC Sports Images.

Having secured a first win of the season in the FAI Cup over Wexford, Town manager Adrian Carberry was now in pursuit of a first League win.

The cup win was not immediately built upon as defeats to Galway and Bray followed. A trip to Dublin to take on Cabinteely on the second Friday of September gave some hope though, a Ronan Manning penalty kick securing a point against one of the promotion chasers.

Following two away games, the Town’s next home outing was against Cobh Ramblers. It looked like another blank night was in store when the visitors took the lead just after the hour mark. The response though was quick as Jack Reynolds equalised but a first win still appeared to be further on the horizon. The game was heading towards a draw when Athlone were awarded a penalty. Manning again stepped up and made no mistake from the spot. The lead was held until the final whistle as the Town then celebrated a first domestic success.

The three points took the Town off the foot of the table for the first time in 2020 with Wexford now occupying bottom spot. It lifted a huge weight off the team and more success was to follow three days later. Athlone travelled to Ferrycarrig Park to take on Wexford in a basement battle. The outcome would be crucial in the bid to keep away from earning the dubious honour of propping up the First Division. A tight game saw no score in the opening half but there was a breakthrough just after the hour mark. Reynolds was again on target and Athlone had collected six points in the space of a weekend.

A further boost to confidence came with Carberry’s charges moving out of the bottom two places on the table. There was a feel-good factor now in the Town ranks and a first win over Longford in the latest Midlands derby was talked about prior to the home game. However, Daire Doyle’s men again came out on top in a comprehensive win for the visitors.

Next up at the start of October was a visit to take on title chasing Drogheda at United Park. Few gave Athlone any chance of succeeding but the form book was thrown out in one of the shocks of the season. Manning was again successful from the spot and a contender for goal of the year from Taner Dogan sealed the away victory.

It proved to be the last points Athlone would collect though in 2020 as three straight defeats followed. A lead against UCD was squandered in Lissywollen as was one in the Tallaght Stadium against Shamrock Rovers.

The League campaign ended four days before the FAI Cup quarter final against Shelbourne. Bray were the visitors with the chance of being crowned champions.

Athlone lost while the win proved of little value to Wanderers who were consigned to the play offs with Drogheda crowned champs as goal difference kept Athlone off bottom place.

 

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