GALWAY UNITED 1 ATHLONE TOWN 2
Athlone Town’s previous league win against Galway United at Eamonn Deacy Park was back in 1997, but the long wait for another success ended last Friday night, the Town’s good late season form continuing as both Adam Lennon and Thomas Oluwa were on target after United had opened the scoring with just two minutes played.
Athlone had the better form going into the game but soon found themselves in arrears. Galway were gifted the opening score when Noah VanGeenen lost the ball on the edge of the penalty area. Stephen Walsh took advantage to fire a left footed shot to the net.
Another former Athlone player Ronan Manning then drilled a free kick wide but Athlone were back on level terms after 18 minutes. The ball was worked in from the left and Lennon launched a great strike past the home keeper for his fifth goal of the season.
The next serious action took place after 33 minutes when Town keeper Vladislav Velikin pushed over a shot from David Hurley for Galway’s first corner. Walsh headed wide a cross from the left with another corner keeping United on the offensive. Galway were further frustrated in stoppage time when a goal was ruled out for offside with Max Hemmings also firing wide.
Athlone had the first chance on the resumption of play when Oluwa fired wide but the woodwork then came to the rescue, Hemmings crashing a shot against the post. Aaron Connolly was off target for Athlone as the early exchanges were evenly contested. Oluwa then set up Daniel Dobbin whose shot was saved. Ed McCarthy curled a shot just wide of the post for Galway as Lennon had a shot blocked for the visitors.
Substitute Oisin O’Reilly saw his attempt pushed away by Velikin as the Town keeper made a series of fine saves to deny Galway. Oluwa then had a chance for Athlone as O’Reilly, McCarthy and Walsh had further opportunities for United. Connolly fired a free wide for Athlone but as the game headed into its closing stages, a share of the spoils looked the likely outcome.
Oluwa though struck for the winner with 10 minutes left to play. Galway contributed to their own downfall when losing possession deep in the Athlone half. Killian Brouder was caught out in defence when the ball was cleared down field. Dwelling too long on the ball allowed the centre half to be robbed by Oluwa and the Town top scorer made no mistake after racing clear to send a low shot past the despairing keeper.
Galway offered little in response. A left-wing cross from Hurley was palmed away by Velikin as Walsh then fired over. Substitute Wilson Waweru had a header saved after 87 minutes but that ended the home danger. Athlone were soon celebrating a fourth game unbeaten as the win also guarantees they will stay clear of bottom spot on the league table.