ATHLONE TOWN 0 CORK CITY 2
Athlone drop out of the play off positions for the first time this season as a sixth defeat in seven games sees the Town slip back to seventh spot on the First Division table.
Struggling Cork City were the visitors last Friday night and the long journey home was made easier following a first away win. City struck just before the half time break and sealed victory late on with a second score.
The visitors were in good form in the early stages. City captain Gearoid Morrissey fired over from the edge of the penalty box while Jack Baxter had a shot saved by Micheal Schlingermann.
Athlone soon settled though and had the better of the exchanges up to the half hour mark. James Doona earned the first corner kick when his shot was put behind. A better chance followed. Adam Wixted down the right linked up with Aidan Friel on the overlap, the right back being denied by Mark McNulty who parried his shot.
Kurtis Byrne had a further home chance but McNulty was out to collect. Another good chance arrived after 28 minutes when Wixted and Byrne combined to set up Brandon McCann who was almost in to finish to the net.
Cork finished the half the stronger team as Cian Murphy fired wide. After 40 minutes, the City midfielder was denied by a brilliant save from Schlingermann, but the opening goal eventually came just before half time. The home defence failed to clear the danger allowing Alec Byrne to pounce and shoot home from close range giving City confidence at a crucial time. Athlone ended the half with another corner but Cork crucially had the lead.
Two further corners when play resumed kept Athlone competitive but Cork were seldom tested in defence. Instead, Murphy had two chances for City with Jack Baxter coming close to doubling the lead on 66 minutes.
Athlone’s first chance in the half from open play came when Derek Daly’s cross from the left fell to Byrne but his shot on the turn cleared the crossbar. Town boss Adrian Carberry went for broke in the closing stages with three at the back.
The away team earned their first corner after 74 minutes and followed up with a second from which Cian Coleman fired over. A home corner was followed by Daniel McKenna drilling a long-range attempt at McNulty. Byrne also tried his luck from distance but once more the veteran City stopper was untroubled.
Cork posed a threat on the counter attack and sealed the victory after 89 minutes. The home defending was again slack allowing Baxter to take advantage and fire an unstoppable shot to the roof of the net past a helpless Schlingermann.
Last action pf the contest saw Athlone force a stoppage time corner but a home goal would have been mere consolation. Cork had little difficulty in dealing with the delivery and were soon celebrating a first win on their travels. The three points edges Cork closer to a floundering Athlone.