LONGFORD TOWN 0 ATHLONE TOWN 2
Athlone Town advanced to the quarter final stage of the under 19 cup following their defeat of Longford Town in a local derby at Bishopsgate Stadium last Sunday afternoon - it was an easy passage for the visitors as a goal in each half ensured a comfortable progression.
The two teams went into the tie on the back of comfortable mid table positions on the league table but it was a game that never reached any heights. There was a complete lack of intensity and fever normally associated with knockout cup ties.
Neither goalkeeper had a serious save to make with Athlone always within their comfort zone. Longford proved to be game but limited opponents even at home. Overall, the game failed to live up to the expectations usually provided from a local derby.
The home team did earn the first corner kick of the tie after five minutes but never built on that promising start. Athlone’s first chance fell to Joseph O’Sullivan who fired wide. However, the visitors gradually gained the upper hand and forced three corners in succession on 17 minutes.
Athlone opened the scoring from the third delivery. Blake Ryan regained possession and sent the ball back into the penalty box where James Carr headed home from close range.
Longford replied with Cian Dunne drilling a shot which Paddy Martyn gathered, but there was little further action for the remainder of the half.
Athlone forced another corner on the hour mark from which Tumelo Tlou fired over. The visitors were comfortable but with a slender lead were always vulnerable.
The hosts had their best chance of the tie five minutes before the break. The keeper’s clearance picked out Dylan Waldron down the left, his low shot eventually gathered by Martyn at the second attempt.
Athlone dominated for long periods when play resumed but had just one more goal to show for their superiority. Matthew Butler did have the first chance when play resumed but it was one of the few times Athlone were tested. Athlone’s Ryan then sent a free kick wide with Andrew Mhandiwa firing over from the edge of the penalty area.
Tlou then had a shot saved while three further corners in quick succession kept the hosts under pressure. A rare chance fell to Alex McGarry of Longford whose effort was just wide of the upright.
The tie was settled after 78 minutes to ensure a more comfortable conclusion to the game for Athlone. Oisin O’Farrell, who had just been introduced as a substitute, scored the vital second goal with his first touch.
With the outcome sorted, the visitors had a number of chances to seal victory but were guilty of some poor finishing during the closing stages.
In the penultimate minute, Longford were again lucky to escape when Tlou set up Oran Lyons but the finish was poor. O’Farrell had another chance in stoppage time but the ball flew wide.
Athlone had one more opportunity from the last corner but the danger was cleared as the final whistle then sounded.