There was no happy return to action for Athlone Town as they slipped to another stoppage time defeat last Friday night.
Adrian Carberry’s men had headed into the mid-season break having lost to UCD and were again undone by a late goal against Galway United at Eamonn Deacy Park.
Shane Barnes had handed the visitors a deserved half time lead. John Caulfield’s men only equalised from the penalty spot with 15 minutes remaining. It looked like the game would end in a draw but a Padraic Cunningham goal in the fourth additional minute broke the Town resistance.
Athlone were full value for their half time lead. A first corner kick saw Jamie Hollywood’s shot from the delivery parried by the United goalkeeper. Another corner followed for Athlone with three more to follow before the midway point of the half.
Galway offered little with their main danger coming from the long throw ins of Killian Brouder. The scoring was opened with 24 minutes gone when Barnes knocked the ball over the line at the far post from Kurtis Byrne’s pass.
Another corner followed as Athlone continued to enjoy the better of the exchanges. Galway earned their first corner after 37 minutes with a second following in stoppage time. In between, Athlone could easily have doubled their lead before the break, Adam Wixted having a shot blocked, while Barnes came close to grabbing a second.
Home boss Caulfield made three changes at the break but it took some time for the switches to have an effect. It proved to be a different game when play resumed as United piled on the pressure.
Athlone had restarted positively though. Wixted drilled an early free kick over while, from a corner, central defender Scott Delaney headed wide.
Galway knuckled down and had forced three corners in as many minutes leading up to their best chance to date. Mikie Rowe was one of the half time substitutions and was denied by a great save on the hour mark.
Cunningham and Ruairi Keating had further chances and Galway were eventually handed a lifeline with a quarter of an hour remaining. Keating was fouled in the penalty area and his spot kick proved too strong for Micheal Schlingermann to stop, the equaliser bringing those home supporters allowed attend for the first time this season to life.
Athlone looked to have done enough to share the spoils but there was a late twist to proceedings. Six additional minutes were indicated but Athlone were still confident of keeping Galway at bay having soaked up much pressure, but it was from the last corner of the game after 94 minutes that United struck for a winner.
A decision could have gone either way but Galway benefited with a corner. Home captain Conor McCormack delivered the ball into a crowded penalty area and Athlone struggled to clear. Cunningham took advantage to force the ball home and reward the United persistence with a last gasp winning goal, Athlone again undone in stoppage time.