UCD 6 ATHLONE TOWN 0
UCD hit Athlone for six as the Towns hopes of taking the final promotion/relegation play-off position look to have ended.
Going into last Friday night’s game at Belfield, the visitors knew that a win would move them just two points behind the students. As it turned out the heavy defeat now means Athlone are eight points adrift of fifth place with just eight games remaining.
The early stages saw Athlone shading the exchanges but when half time was reached it was the hosts that held a two goal lead. College top scorer Colm Whelan had the first chance when heading wide with Paul Doyle also off target for the hosts.
The first corner kick of the contest fell Athlone’s way with eight minutes played. A minute later, Glen McAuley should have capitalised upon a good cross from James Doona but mishit his shot instead.
Derek Daly then drilled a free kick over and Athlone were then unlucky not to take the lead after 21 minutes, Doona worked his way into the middle from the left but saw his shot from outside the penalty area hit the post and bounce back into play.
The home team took advantage of the let off to open the scoring on 23 minutes. From their first corner, College’s Sam Todd got his head to the ball and goalkeeper Micheal Schlingermann could not prevent the ball from crossing the line.
The Town number one made amends somewhat when pushing away a Liam Kerrigan shot after 34 minutes while also getting behind an Evan Weir free kick. As half time approached, McAuley fired wide for Athlone with the last corner of the half following.
UCD though doubled their advantage after 44 minutes. Whelan took Killian Cantwell out of the equation with a neat turn and the ball was fired to the net between the keeper and the post. It put the students in a commanding position at the break.
Athlone’s second half was a disaster as they conceded four more goals thanks to some dreadful defending. Jack Keaney, Mark Dignam and Whelan all had early UCD chances. The game ended as a contest with goal number three 10 minutes in, Kerrigan took advantage of poor defending to take the ball around the keeper and roll it into an empty net.
Athlone’s only response since the half commenced was from two corners. A bad night continued after 64 minutes when Athlone were punished from a swift counter attack, Whelan taking the ball past an exposed Schlingermann to slot home from the right.
Former Athlone player Adam Lennon was the first home substitute to be brought on and he celebrated his first taste of the action by heading home.
Athlone’s misery was completed on 73 minutes when UCD made it six nil, Whelan grabbing his hat trick with the Town defending again poor.
The visitors had a couple of late chances to grab a consolation score but neither substitutes Shane Barnes or Kurtis Byrne could find the net.