ATHLONE TOWN 2 COBH RAMBLERS 1
It was a welcome return to winning ways for Athlone Town when they beat Cobh Ramblers at home last Friday night.
The visitors took an early lead which they held onto well into the second half until Derek Daly found the net with an opportunistic strike on 70 minutes. James Doona struck for a winner late on as a run of three straight defeats ended.
The home team had an early chance to open the scoring but Doona was denied by a great save from Dean Barron. Ian Turner had Cobh’s first chance but the visitors then took the lead with 15 minutes played, Killian Cooper finding the net from just inside the penalty area.
Adam Wixted replied when his shot on the turn just cleared the bar while Lee Devitt was also off target at the other end. Athlone’s next chance came with 36 minutes played when Doona’s cross from the right picked out Stephen Meaney whose header was directed straight at Barron.
Three corner kicks in succession kept up the pressure from Athlone. Cobh though came close to doubling their lead only to be denied by the woodwork in stoppage time, Conor Drinan unlucky to see his strike crash against the crossbar.
Cobh earned an early corner following the resumption of play while Athlone’s first chance saw Barron pull off another fine save, Daly’s free kick was pushed behind by the Cobh keeper.
Doona was next to be denied by the keeper. Jamie Hollywood and Kurtis Byrne were then brought on and the Town’s fortunes turned.
Cobh were still leading as the half headed beyond the halfway mark but were undone by Daly on 70 minutes. The ball was worked out to the left by Daniel McKenna. Daly was expected to deliver a cross but instead the ball ended up in the net over the keeper’s head. A share of the spoils now looked most likely outcome as the game headed towards its closing stages.
Athlone faced slipping further off the pace as a consequence of dropping points at home. Barron had proved hard to beat earlier but gifted Athlone the winner. A Shane Barnes shot from the right was parried by the keeper but only into the path of Doona. A simple tap in was achieved. The goal proved to be the last action of the game but the home team still had to endure a few anxious moments.
Four additional minutes were indicated and Cobh pushed up in search of a last gasp equaliser. Athlone dealt with whatever the visitors threw at them. An away attack broke down in the final moments allowing Wixted to break clear down the left wing. The opportunity for Athlone to increase their lead was passed upon as the number seven sensibly headed for the corner flag to wind down the clock. The final whistle soon sounded with Athlone ending the first series of games on a winning note