Athlone Town seek that most elusive first league win as Galway United dominate in Deacy Park

Donal Curtin challenges Wilson Waweru for the ball during his debut for Athlone Town against Galway United on Friday.  Photograph by Ashley Cahill Images.

Donal Curtin challenges Wilson Waweru for the ball during his debut for Athlone Town against Galway United on Friday. Photograph by Ashley Cahill Images.


Athlone Town continue their quest for a first league win of the season, a visit to Eamonn Deacy Park to play Galway United yielding a further loss as Dermot Lennon’s charges suffered their 13th defeat of the campaign.

After a scoreless opening half, three second half goals sent John Caulfield’s team top of the table after Cork City drew with Wexford. Athlone could easily have headed off for the break with the lead but it was a different story following the resumption of play.

The visitors had the better chances in the first half, the Town early on the attack as a right-wing cross from Thomas Oluwa was caught by Conor Kearns. The visitors then had a good chance to open the scoring with just four minutes played, but Gary Armstrong’s shot was blocked by Kearns at his near post.

The keeper again had to be alert to cut out a dangerous cross from former Galway player Carlton Ubaezuonu. Top scorer Stephen Walsh had the first United chance on 13 minutes when toe poking the ball wide.

Oluwa then fired over for the visitors with Mark Smith saving from Gary Boylan at the other end. Armstrong, after 34 minutes, drilled a free kick from the left over the bar. Athlone were doing well and a shot from Success Edogun was put behind for the first corner kick of the game after 37 minutes. Two more corners were to follow for the Town as a positive opening half for the visitors then drew to a close.

Galway were a different team when play resumed and Wilson Waweru gave an early indication of what was to follow when crashing a shot off the bar.

Athlone were then undone after 54 minutes from a set piece as a corner delivery by David Hurley was headed home by Alex Murphy from close range. The visitors were unable to sustain their first half performance and their sole response until stoppage time was from a corner just before the hour mark.

Galway piled forward and five more corners were forced as the pressure mounted on Athlone. Smith kept the hosts at bay with a good block on Walsh’s shot after 76 minutes. The pressure eventually paid off four minutes later. Wawerus shot was initially blocked by Smith but Ubaezuonu then fouled Walsh inside the box. Hurley stepped up to send the keeper the wrong way from the resulting spot kick.

Ex Athlone favourite Ronan Manning joined the action and completed the scoring in the last minute. Hurley played a free on the left to the substitute on the edge of the box and a crisp low strike flew past the keeper’s right to the net.

Four additional minutes were indicated and Athlone had a rare chance to trouble Galway during this period. Matthew McCarrick was on as a sub and had the chance of a consolation score but Kearns was out to make the save. The closing action could have seen Galway score a fourth goal but Smith made a great save to keep out a header from Manu Dimas.


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