A welcome return to successful ways as Athlone duly earn Stradbrook victory

CABINTEELY FC 0 | ATHLONE TOWN 1

Athlone recorded their first win in six games after a Derek Daly goal proved sufficient to beat Cabinteely at Stradbrook last Friday night.

It stretched the Town's unbeaten run to three games and gained some revenge for a first defeat of 2021 back in April. The win keeps Athlone's play-off hopes alive as they move to within a point of Bray in fifth spot.

With both teams level on points, the match carried some significance. Athlone were on top in the early stages but Cabinteely could easily have opened the scoring from their first attack.

Adam Wixted had an early chance with a first corner kick soon following. Daly’s free kick from the right was cleared while Stephen Meaney, on his return to the Town colours, saw his shot blocked.

The hosts could easily have taken the lead from their first attack on 14 minutes but Micheal Schlingermann made a fine save to push behind Eoin Massey's shot.

The deadlock was broken five minutes later. Patient build up play and a neat exchange of passes ended with a goal. Daly played a one two with Meaney and then fired over the keeper to the roof of the net handing Athlone a huge boost in confidence.

Cabinteely never really got into their stride but were still dangerous on occasions. Luke McWilliams headed a right wing cross over with Massey also off target. Jamie Hollywood fired wide at the other end but the woodwork came to Athlone's rescue on the stroke of half time when a left wing cross picked out Vilius Labutis but his header crashed off the bar.

During the second half, there were few clear-cut chances as Athlone looked comfortable. Kurtis Byrne had the first chance when heading wide with Cabos Eoin McPhillips also out of luck from a free kick. Dan McKenna had a shot saved while Cabinteely forced two corners in quick succession as the game headed towards the hour mark.

There was little further action up to the midway point as Daly was next into action when drilling a free kick wide. Cabinteely made a treble substitution after 71 minutes in a vain attempt at reviving their fortunes.

Athlone motored nicely but good skill from Wixted was ruined with a poor finish. An away corner was earned after 75 minutes and Byrne had the visitor’s last chance when his shot was saved.

Cabinteely mounted a late challenge for a share of the spoils but were unable to break down the Town rear-guard as Brandon McCann replaced Meaney in the final five minutes.

A scramble in the penalty area saw Athlone eventually clear the danger while, on the stroke of full time, Jack Hudson saw his shot saved.

Three additional minutes were indicated and the home team had one last chance from a corner kick. Goalkeeper Harry Halwax advanced forward in support of his outfield team mates but to no avail and the chance was wasted. A rare win over Cabinteely was soon being celebrated.

 

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