Athlone Town maintain their play off aspirations with successive unbeaten bank holiday weekend performances

A brace from Valerii Dolia ensured Athlone claimed a Bank Holiday Monday win over Finn Harps and sustain the club's play off aspirations.  Photo by Eoin Noonan/Sportsfile

A brace from Valerii Dolia ensured Athlone claimed a Bank Holiday Monday win over Finn Harps and sustain the club's play off aspirations. Photo by Eoin Noonan/Sportsfile


John Dingle

An injury time goal from Nehemie Lamtoukou secured Athlone Town a vital away day point in Bray on Friday night last as the quest to secure a League of Ireland First Division play-off place continues.

It had looked good for Athlone Town at the Carlisle Grounds when they led the hosts through a Frantz Pierrot penalty kick early in the opening half, but Wanderers turned the game around in the second half to lead heading into the dying moments.

A second red card had Wanderers down to nine men at this late stage and Athlone finally took advantage of their extra numbers to grab an equaliser in the second minute of stoppage time.

Bray earned the first corner kick after seven minutes with Dane Massey then firing a free kick over. The game was to take an early turn in Athlone's favour when the hosts conceded a penalty kick. The Town's first chance fell to Valerii Dolia on 10 minutes but his shot was parried by the Bray keeper and in the ensuing melee, Cole Omorehiomwan was adjudged to have fouled Pierrot. The Town's top scorer sent Matthew Connor the wrong way from the resulting spot kick.

Bray replied with another corner while midway through the half, Dolias cross from the end line fell to Town's new signing Daniel Orrego but he shot wide from the back post. On the half hour mark, Athlone earned their first corner when Aaron Connolly’s shot was pushed behind. Chris Lyons then had two chances for the hosts but another contentious decision with 36 minutes gone saw Bray have a man sent off, a tackle by Dave Webster on Dolia earning a straight red card for the Wanderers captain.

It was all to unravel for the Town as Bray were the better team when play resumed after the break. Athlone did have the first chance when Dan McKenna had a free kick saved but it was soon obvious that Bray had sensed they were still in contention. It was no surprise when the teams drew level on 54 minutes as Darren Craven drilled in a free kick from the left into a crowded goalmouth to the net. McKenna had Athlone's next two chances but Bray were again to find the net when they too were awarded a penalty kick on 74 minutes after Craven was fouled, Lyons tucking away the spot kick.

A second sending off for Bray after 76 minutes saw Omorehiomwan's contribution end. Athlone piled forward but had to wait until stoppage time to make their numerical superiority finally pay off. Athlone struck for a draw when a corner kick taken by Michael Peprah was headed home by Nehemie Lamtoukou.

Town Maintain Play-Off Push

Athlone were again in action on Monday night when they soundly beat Finn Harps at home by four goals to one. All the scores came in the opening half as Noah VanGeenen and an own goal had the Town in control. Harps pulled a goal back but it was mere consolation as two fine strikes from Dolia sealed the home win and end the Donegal outfits five game unbeaten run. Both teams finished the game with ten men as Peprah and Daniel Stokoe saw red late on.


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