Athlone Town succumb to stern Galway United challenge as visitors maintain fine form


Despite opening the scoring, Athlone Town succumbed to the challenge of western rivals, Galway United, in Lissywollen on Friday night, the visitors claiming their seventh consecutive league win in the process.

Home keeper Enda Minogue saved a penalty kick in the first half and the ball was cleared leading to Frantz Pierrot handing Athlone the lead. Galway levelled matters before the half time break and then hit the front just before the hour mark. A third goal following a period of Athlone dominance sealed victory for the visitors.

The early stages proved disappointing as corner kicks proved to be the only excitement. Former Town player Stephen Walsh headed over for Galway after 18 minutes and, from a United corner midway through the half, Conor O’Keeffe’s header was tipped over by Enda Minogue.

Athlone almost conceded a spectacular own goal soon after through Noah VanGeenen, but the game sprung to life on 33 minutes as Athlone conceded a penalty kick and then opened the scoring in a counter attack. German Fuentes Rodriguez was adjudged to have fouled Vincent Borden inside the penalty area but David Hurley’s spot kick was saved. The loose ball was cleared to Jamar Campion-Hinds who raced clear down the left. A precise pass picked out Pierrot who fired to the net. The equaliser swiftly followed however on 38 minutes when Colm Horgan’s cross was headed past the keeper’s right by Hurley.

A poor pass on the resumption of play almost lead to United taking the lead but Hurley’s shot clipped the bar. A Galway corner was followed by Haji Abdikadir firing over from the left for Athlone.

Galway then took the lead just before the hour mark, Hurley grabbing his second goal as he cut in from the left to then roll the ball to the net past the keeper’s left. Galway then relaxed a little and, as a result, allowed Athlone back into the game. The Town enjoyed a good spell but could not level matters and then went further behind from Galway’s next meaningful attack.

Two corners were earned by Athlone with Patrick Hickey heading wide from the second. Campion-Hinds then had a shot saved but Athlone could not level matters. Galway grabbed a third goal on 74 minutes when Walsh beat the offside trap and showed a cool head with a low shot to the net. It was tough luck on the Town as they were still in contention up to this point, but Galway were now in control.

A United corner was followed by Pierrot firing over for the home team. Darren Clarke almost capped a dream introduction to the action as a substitute with a goal for Galway but shot against the post after nipping in.

Athlone almost reduced the deficit to the bare minimum in the penultimate minute when Charles Mutawe’s cross saw Pierrot’s header brilliantly tipped over by United goalkeeper Brendan Clarke. In the fourth and final minute of additional time, Athlone had one more chance to score but Hickey directed his header over the bar. The final whistle soon sounded as Galway maintained their perfect record.


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