ATHLONE TOWN 2 UCD 3
UCD completed an amazing comeback when they struck for a winning goal deep into stoppage time at Lissywollen on Friday night.
Athlone Town held a two goal lead but ended up pointless as the students fought back to win by the odd goal in five.
The teams were level on points going into the game with UCD only occupying second spot on goal difference and the game lived up to its pre-match billing as both teams opted to play open football.
The visitors had an early lucky escape when Adam Wixted crashed a shot off the bar. The respite was brief as the scoring was opened with just five minutes played. Shane Barnes was involved on the left and Daniel McKenna was on hand to volley to the net as College failed to clear.
Colm Whelan then had a shot gathered by Town keeper Micheal Schlingermann. Athlone survived the UCD revival and the lead was doubled on 25 minutes, Tumelo Tlou delivering a cross from the end line and Barnes rose to meet the ball and head home.
Athlone were buoyant but saw their lead cut in half on the 30 minute mark. UCD exploited the lack of cover for Athlone at the back as Whelan set up Liam Kerrigan on the left and he shot across the keeper to the net. The scorer had a chance to level matters just before the break but saw his effort blocked by Schlingermann.
When play resumed in the second half, UCD were quickly on the attack in search of a leveller. An Evan Weir free kick was gathered by Schlingermann at the second attempt but the Town keeper was unable to prevent the equaliser arriving after 54 minutes, Dara Keane positioned at the back post to slot home from close range following a cross from the left.
Athlone had an instant chance to regain the lead but Wixted scooped the ball over after being picked out by Kurtis Byrne on the left. Whelan looked set to put the visitors in front for the first time after the hour mark but Dylan Hand did well to clear his shot off the line.
UCD were reduced to ten men with 12 minutes remaining after Paul Doyle was dismissed having picked up a second yellow card. The extra man advantage was soon gone, Town full back Tlou picking up a second yellow card after 83 minutes for a needless foul.
UCD took heart and Harvey O’Brien should have headed home a visitor’s free kick with substitute Donal Higgins having a shot saved. Kerrigan was denied by the keeper in the last action of the 90 minutes and a share of the spoils looked likely.
Athlone though were undone in the second minute of stoppage time. Michael Gallagher got to the end line and delivered a low cross which was eventually bundled home by another substitute Mark Dignam. Athlone still had one more chance to grab an equaliser but Byrne fired over in the last action of an entertaining contest.