CORK CITY 0 ATHLONE TOWN 1
Athlone Town sit proudly at the top of the First Division table after they collected full points against Cork City at Turners Cross last Friday night.
With previous table toppers Cabinteely not in action and UCD drawing with Bray, Aidan Carberry’s men took full advantage of the situation, the unbeaten run continuing as James Doona struck for the winning goal with just over 10 minutes remaining.
Athlone were again unchanged and should have taken an early lead inside the first five minutes. Adam Wixted had the chance to score but saw his shot blocked behind for the first corner kick.
Cork recovered and had the better of the exchanges up to the half hour mark. Michael Schlingermann though was not seriously tested until midway through the half when Cian Bargary was denied.
City’s best chance came after 27 minutes but a shot from Jack Walsh dribbled agonisingly wide of the upright. Dylan McGlade then had a shot saved but, for the remainder of the half, Athlone were on top.
Another chance to break the deadlock came three minutes from the break. Doona sent in a low cross from the left which fell to Kurtis Byrne but the well-travelled striker failed to properly connect with the ball which went wide. Another Town corner ended the action in the opening half with the outcome very much in the balance.
Schlingermann was again alert when City looked to take the lead on the resumption of play. Bargary had the chance but the keeper put behind the rasping shot.
There was little further action up to the midway point of the half. Cork had lots of possession but were kept at bay. Team captain Gearoid Morrissey saw his shot blocked with the follow up attempt from Walsh saved.
At the other end, Byrne was inches away from connecting with an inviting cross from Wixted.
The deadlock was eventually broken after 78 minutes. Aidan Friel launched a throw in and when Wixted blocked down an attempted clearance the opening was clear. The ball was fed to Doona on the left who found the net with a low strike.
City could not take advantage from three late corners, the pick of which saw Walsh send a header over the bar. Four additional minutes were indicated but Athlone were not in any trouble.
Another home corner was earned but the last action of the game should have seen the visitors double their lead. The home team were committed to attack and when the move broke down, Athlone launched a quick break as Friel raced clear. Wixted was set up to score but the finish was poor with the ball drifting harmlessly wide of Mark McNulty’s post.
It mattered little though when the final whistle soon sounded.
On their last visit to Leeside in 2017, Athlone were thrashed by seven goals to nil in an FAI cup tie earlier. Revenge was earned when the final whistle sounded leaving Athlone leading the way at the top of the table.