WATERFORD FC 1 ATHLONE TOWN 0
In spite of having an extra man for the second half, there was yet another defeat for Athlone Town at the Regional Sports Centre in Waterford last Monday afternoon.
The visitors had the better chances in the opening half and looked to have an advantage when the Blues had a man sent off just before the break. Athlone though failed to put away their chances and were punished late on when Waterford struck for the winner.
Athlone were under pressure in the early stages as Shane Griffin fired wide inside the first minute with Eddie Nolan heading a free kick over. Griffin was again off target before Athlone’s first chance saw Carlton Ubaezuonu fire wide.
Louis Britton and Richard Taylor had further chances for the Blues but Athlone should have taken the lead after 18 minutes. Ubaezuonu found himself with only Brian Murphy to beat but fired the ball off the keeper’s legs.
Stephen Kenny then headed wide a Derek Daly cross while Aaron Connolly had a further chance for the Town. Roland Idowu fired wide for Waterford but the next chance on 32 minutes again presented Athlone with a great opportunity to score, Kenny setting up Shane Barnes but he could not celebrate his first start in 2022 when tamely shooting at the keeper.
Daniel Dobbin headed over as Athlone continued to press. On the stroke of half time, George Taylor fouled Ubaezuonu and was sent off after getting a second caution, but the resulting free kick from Daly was saved.
The second half did not go well for the visitors as they could not make the extra man count. Up to the midway point of the half, Athlone had all the chances but Murphy was not under any threat in the home goal.
After 66 minutes, Barnes had the best chance but could not properly connect with a low cross from the end line sent in by Ubaezuonu. Midway through the half, the hosts had their best chance to date but Idowu had a shot blocked with Britton sending the rebound over.
Kenny fired in a shot from the right which hit the Waterford bar while Barnes was wide from another Town attack and those missed chances proved costly and Waterford struck decisively after 74 minutes. Phoenix Patterson took possession on the left and picked out Britton who shot to the roof of the net.
The visitors continued to try and score but never really looked like grabbing an equaliser even with a man extra. Noah Van Geenen had an effort saved while two corners came to nothing.
Substitute Thomas Oluwa had a shot saved after 86 minutes which proved to be Athlone’s last chance of the game. Four additional minutes were indicated and the home team had a late chance to add to their tally as the game drifted into five additional minutes.
A foul on the edge of the penalty area saw Patterson take aim from the resulting free kick but Micheal Schlingermann made the save.