Athlone Town’s dreams of making the play offs were finally ended when they could only draw with Treaty United at the Markets Field last Friday night.
Needing to win both their remaining games and hoping that Bray failed to collect any points, Athlone took the lead through James Doona. United levelled matters with a second half penalty kick to join Bray, UCD and Galway in the promotion play-off spots.
The league new boys earned two early corner kicks but Doona was soon in action for the visitors. An effort was fired wide with Tadhg Ryan saving a second shot. Treaty however came closest to scoring from their first chance after 13 minutes, former Athlone player Joel Coustrain seeing his close range shot blocked by the legs of Micheal Schlingermann.
Doona then resumed his personal crusade when firing over. The winger was more accurate with the lead goal on 25 minutes, cutting inside from the left and firing a low shot past Ryan’s left. It put Athlone in a good place but they still needed for Bray to lose to Cabinteely.
The visitors dominated the rest of the half without adding to their lead. Treaty now needed to adopt a more attacking formation after being set up in defensive mode. Kieran Hanlon had a shot saved while also firing wide later on. Kurtis Byrne then headed over a Doona left wing cross and the same players had the last of the away chances. Doona’s effort was saved while Byrne fired over but generally Athlone could be content with their first 45 minutes work.
Glen McAuley had the first chance on the restart of play when firing wide for Athlone. Hanlon had two chances to grab the equaliser as the game remained delicately balanced. Athlone had a chance to double their lead after 71 minutes but Aidan Friel’s shot from the right was parried behind for a corner.
The game was to turn back Treaty’s way two minutes later. Willie Armshaw was allowed too much space by the Town defence and the substitute’s shot carried too much power for Schlingermann who could only parry the ball. In an attempt to then collect the loose ball, the keeper was adjudged to have fouled Hanlon. The victim took the spot kick and made no mistake as he sent Schlingermann the wrong way.
Treaty now tried to keep Athlone at bay for the remainder of the contest. McAuley fired over as the visitors went in search of the win they needed.
Athlone had a final chance with four minutes remaining. McAuley was fouled on the left edge of the box. It was a dangerous position for Treaty to concede as Byrne lined up his strike. The free was wasted as it went across the goalmouth and wide of the far post.
Killian Cantwell pushed up from defence for the closing stages but Athlone could not break down the solid home rear-guard. Four additional minutes were indicated but there was no further goalmouth action during this period.