Athlone Town’s 100 per cent record was dashed by local rivals Longford Town in the first Midlands derby of the season at Lissywollen last Friday night (March 10 ).
David O’Sullivan was the hat-trick hero for Alan Mathew’s men, but the home side will regret not putting away a number of good chances they created.
Athlone had the opportunity to take an early lead, but Jose Viegas somehow headed a cross the wrong side of the post when the goal was at his mercy.
O’Sullivan, though, made no mistake when provided with a sight of the target as he shot low to the net following Gavin Boyne’s clever back-heel after 14 minutes to open the scoring.
The misses mounted thereafter for Athlone as the normally accurate Conor Barry failed on a couple of occasions to find the net and get the home side back in contention for a third win on the trot.
Longford punished the inaccuracy by doubling their lead just before the half-time break. A corner kick from Mark Langtry picked out the unmarked O’Sullivan who had little difficulty in grabbing his second goal with a close-range header.
O’Sullivan completed his hat trick within five minutes of the restart. Jake Kelly sent in a cross which was volleyed goalwards by Langtry and O’Sullivan got a crucial touch from inside a crowded six yard box.
The game may have ended as a serious contest at this stage but Athlone tried hard to make the remainder of the second half more interesting. Longford were content to settle on their seemingly comfortable lead. Although the home team enjoyed lots of possession they could not find a way past their former goalkeeper, Paul Skinner.
Barry and Athlone’s last effort, which flew across the goalmouth, summed up a bad night for the home team when well placed in front of the target.
In spite of the setback, Athlone have lost no ground at the upper end of the league table and travel south at the weekend in confident mood to take on Cobh Ramblers.