SHELBOURNE 1 ATHLONE TOWN 0
A second defeat of the season for Athlone Town saw Adrian Carberry’s charges relinquish their position at the top of the First Division table.
Shelbourne were the opposition at Tolka Park last Friday night and a Ryan Brennan goal early in the second half proved sufficient for the hosts. It was a disappointing outing for the Town with Shels worthy winners. The loss pushes Athlone back to third place, two points behind new joint table toppers Shelbourne and UCD.
A poor opening half saw both teams fail to sparkle in front of goal and any of the chances came from set pieces. Michael O’Connor had the first chance for the home team but his shot was blocked.
Athlone replied with the first of five corner kicks. Shels’ Yoyo Mahdy had a shot saved while the Town’s only chance from open play fell to James Doona, the strike with 20 minutes played clearing the bar.
Athlone forced two more corners midway through the half. Shelbourne came closest to scoring from the best chance of the half. A free kick was conceded in a dangerous position on the edge of the penalty area, but Kevin O’Connor’s goalbound strike was brilliantly tipped behind by Micheal Schlingermann. Another corner for Athlone came after 40 minutes while the hosts replied with two corners of their own.
The second half saw Athlone only come to life in the final 10 minutes, but Shels had scored by this stage through Brennan.
In contrast to a week earlier against Cabinteely, Athlone created few chances. The only goal came from the first meaningful action of the half with 10 minutes played. The ball was worked into the penalty area from the right. Athlone failed to clear the danger and the Shels striker pounced on the rebound to fire to the net from close range.
Shane Farrell had a shot saved by Micheal Schlingermann and also came close to doubling the lead. From a corner kick, Michael O’Connor had a shot blocked with Farrell’s follow up effort pushed behind by the Town keeper.
JJ Lunney also kept the keeper busy while Mahdy crashed a shot off the bar as Shels dominated. Athlone offered little in response but a free kick from Derek Daly was almost fumbled by the home keeper.
Substitute, Jack Reynolds then had a shot saved but Athlone left themselves exposed to the counter attack. Lunney’s shot on the turn just cleared the bar while the woodwork was again to deny the Reds late on.
Substitute, John Ross Wilson, rounded the keeper on the right and his cross picked out another sub Dayle Rooney. While the goal was unguarded, the post saved Athlone.
Three additional minutes were indicated and Athlone pushed forward in search of a last gasp equaliser.
Reynolds was enjoying his first appearance of the season and saw his shot blocked for a corner. The delivery was not capitalised upon and Shelbourne were soon celebrating knocking the Town off their perch.
Athlone Town’s poor recent record at the North Dublin venue continues.