‘El Clasico’ victory ensures Athlone Town maintain quest for end of season play-off berth

Frantz Pierrot celebrates after scoring his side's third goal in the 'El Clasico' victory over Longford Town in Bishopsgate on Saturday night. Photo by Michael P Ryan/Sportsfile

Frantz Pierrot celebrates after scoring his side's third goal in the 'El Clasico' victory over Longford Town in Bishopsgate on Saturday night. Photo by Michael P Ryan/Sportsfile

LONGFORD TOWN 2

ATHLONE TOWN 3

John Dingle

Athlone Town secured a crucial away victory in ‘El Clasico’ on Saturday night, two Frantz Pierrot goals in the closing 10 minutes sufficient to achieve a local derby win and maintain the team’s quest for an end of season play-off berth.

Athlone Town had taken the lead at Bishopsgate but it was short-lived as Longford still went in at half time on level terms. The hosts then hit the front just after the hour mark but Frantz Pierrot struck in the last ten minutes to seal the away win.

The opening half only came to life in the closing stages with two goals in a three-minute spell. Athlone earned the first corner kick on 10 minutes but could easily have found themselves in arrears soon after when Beineoin O’Brien Whitmarsh had a clear sight of goal but Enda Minogue came to the rescue by blocking the shot.

The next chance did not arrive until 31 minutes had been played when a cross from the right fell to Cristian Magerusan but he shot straight at the keeper. Athlone then struck for the opening goal on 38 minutes, a Jamar Campion-Hinds throw falling to Valerii Dolia who sent a low shot to the net from twelve yards range.

The lead was short-lived though as Longford levelled matters two minutes later. Slack defending by Athlone gave Magerusan the chance in the penalty area and he duly obliged to slip the ball past Minogue. The visitors had a couple of chances before the half time whistle sounded but Campion-Hinds volleyed over and Pierrot directed a header at the home keeper.

Longford were more positive when play resumed and it was no surprise that they went in front on 65 minutes. Their dominance to date in the half was rewarded when Magerusan powered a header home from a free kick taken by Viktor Serdeniuk.

Athlone somehow managed to turn the game around and win following a remarkable swing in fortunes. Their first chance came after 70 minutes when a corner was earned. It was looking that it wasn’t Athlones night but Pierrot was about to pounce as he brought the game level after 80 minutes. Daniel Orrego delivered a cross from the right and Pierrot was on hand to fire home.

A draw would not have been a poor result for Athlone but there was a late twist to proceedings. Pierrot popped up to do what he does best as the top scorer grabbed his second goal and the winner with just two minutes remaining. Substitute Dylan Gavin was the provider from the right when Athlone cleared the danger from a home free kick. Pierrot did well to gain possession and a clever flick saw him ahead of his marker before shooting low past Jack Brady. It was an amazing comeback by the visitors but the three points were not secure just yet.

On the stroke of full time, a quickly taken free kick handed Jordan Adeyemo the chance to level matters but Minogue did well to block the shot from the substitute. Longford were still dangerous and five additional minutes handed them more time to try and salvage a point. A corner kick in the fourth additional minute was the only time the home team threatened though.

 

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