Last-gasp equalisers and cup woes for Athlone

An amazing comeback from Athlone Town last Friday night (March 31 ) saw the home side score twice in stoppage time to salvage a point against Cabinteely FC.

The Dublin side held a two-goal lead as the 90-minute mark passed, but a Conor Barry penalty kick and a last-gasp equaliser from substitute Jason Lyons thrilled the home crowd.

Cabinteely were on top in the early stages and were full value for their two-goal lead which came with less than a quarter of an hour played. The opening score came after just four minutes play when Evan Galvin slotted home after Connor Gleeson had spilled a shot from Joe Doyle. The lead was doubled when Kieran Waters took advantage of further slack marking in the Town defence to stab the ball home. It could have been worse after 26 minutes when Doyle rounded the keeper on the edge of the penalty area but Cormac Raftery got back to clear the ball to safety.

When play resumed in the second half, goalkeeper Gleeson kept Athlone in contention when he pushed behind a free kick from Waters, with Joe Doyle firing wide from the resulting corner. The Town were handed a lifeline just before the hour mark when Barry set up Walter Invernizzi and the Uruguayan striker made no mistake with a left-footed volley to the net.

The two-goal advantage for the visitors was quickly restored though when Waters successfully tucked away a penalty kick following a foul on Galvin. Lyons and Kirils Grigorovs had chances for Athlone as full time approached but in spite of five additional minutes being indicated it still looked like a lost cause for the Town.

Barry did fire home a spot kick after Jose Rodrigues had been fouled but Cabinteely still looked like holding out for a record-breaking fourth consecutive win as they defended in depth. With time almost up, Athlone launched a last-gasp attack and when Rodrigues sent a cross into the crowded penalty area, Lyons, from close range, got a touch to complete an amazing comeback from the home side. Cabinteely were in shock when the final whistle sounded soon after the restart as Athlone stopped their recent losing run with a first point in four games.

In the EA Sports Cup last Tuesday (April 4 ), Longford Town were the visitors. Barry put Athlone in front on six minutes from the penalty spot after Ryan Gaffey had been fouled by Longford captain Stephen Walsh. The lead was doubled after 34 minutes when Raftery headed home after goalkeeper Jack Brady had spilled a free kick from Frederico Hernandez.

The visitors reduced the deficit within a minute when Davie O’Sullivan latched onto a long ball forward to roll it past Gleeson. Away pressure paid off midway through the second half when O’Sullivan grabbed his second but Invernizzi restored the lead within a minute only for O’Sullivan to again restore parity. Cody Mulhall scored the winner for Longford after 84 minutes.

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