COBH RAMBLERS 0 ATHLONE TOWN 0
Not for the first time this season, Athlone Town failed to make the most of playing against ten men.
Cobh Ramblers at St Colman’s Park last Saturday night had a man sent off with just over 15 minutes remaining but held out to secure a valuable point. It left the Town failing to make up any ground on their immediate play-off rivals as the season now enters its final series of matches.
The early stages gave hope of an Athlone victory but the promising opening soon faded. New signings, Tunmise Sobowale and Conor Barry, linked up for the first chance but the latter scooped the ball over. Sean Barron then pulled off the first of a series of fine saves when he pushed away a Glen McAuley shot.
Sobowale and James Doona had further chances while Danny O’Connell had the first home opportunity to score but sent a curling effort just wide. Doona was again denied by Barron who inspired his team mates throughout.
Micheal Schlingermann was also in top form as he pushed over the bar a Nathan O’Connell effort. Charlie Lyons was denied from the resulting corner with Ian Turner then having two further Cobh chances. Darren Murphy and the Town’s Barry were off target as the deadlock remained unbroken.
Athlone forced an early corner when play resumed with Ramblers replying with two of their own in quick succession. Cobh captain John Kavanagh was unlucky to see his shot drift just wide but the game looked to have turned in Athlone’s favour after 73 minutes - substitute, Stephen Meaney, was tripped by Lyons as he advanced goalwards with the Cobh player seeing red for the last man back foul.
Athlone now had a great opportunity to go on and win but Barron had other ideas. It was a frustrating night for Doona who could not get the better of the Cobh keeper.
Athlone’s best chance arrived with eight minutes remaining, Barron pushing behind a goalbound effort. The hosts were under pressure but still had a late chance to create a shock, instead Nathan O’Connell saw his shot saved.
The game was deep into stoppage time when Cobh were reduced to nine men. Ben O’Riordan fouled McAuley on the edge of the penalty area and his second yellow card was fatal. The offence could have been further punished from the resulting free kick. A good position right in front of the target offered Athlone the chance to collect all three points. Having earned the free, McAuley took responsibility, but his strike flew just wide of the target much to the relief of the home supporters behind Barron’s goal.
It was the last action of the game as the final whistle soon sounded. Athlone’s unbeaten run on their travels now stretches to three games but a second successive away win was let slip.
The Town are now five points behind UCD in the chase for the last play-off position with the teams set to meet at Belfield in the next game.