Cobh Ramblers survived having a player sent off as Athlone Town failed to take advantage of their numerical superiority at St Colman’s Park last Saturday evening (1 July ).
The Town’s two-match unbeaten run ended as an opening-half three-goal scoring blitz in a six minute spell enabled the home side to get back to winning ways. The sending off of Ian Mylod just before the hour mark gave Athlone some hope of a revival, but a Dragos Sfrijan goal midway through the second half proved to be the only reply from the visitors.
Athlone looked lively in the early stages. Ryan Gaffey sent a looping header over the bar, and Jose Viegas had a shot saved by goalkeeper Paul Hunt. Midway through the half, Gaffey and Viegas had further chances but a bizarre six-minute spell then saw Cobh strike three times to end the game as a contest.
The hosts opened the scoring on 32 minutes. Igor Labuts had tipped over a Cian Coleman header, but the Cobh number 11 was more successful from the resulting corner kick taken by Craig Donnellan, as his downward header from 10 yards range found the net.
The lead was doubled after 36 minutes when Jason Abbott tucked home a penalty kick after Coleman had been fouled by David Brookes.
Athlone barely had time to recover their composure when they went further behind after losing possession following the restart. Abbott took advantage to release Matthew Whelan and the Ramblers top scorer added to his goal tally with a low shot to the net between the keeper and his near post.
Conor Barry had the last Athlone chance of the half when firing wide but the visitors still faced a mammoth task on the resumption of play.
A change at half time saw Ethan Keogh join the action in midfield as Jason Lyons had an early chance from a Niall Scullion cross but saw his headed effort tipped over. The game seemed to take a turn in Athlone’s favour after 58 minutes when Mylod picked up a second yellow card after fouling Frederico Hernandez.
Taking advantage, Athlone got back into contention with a goal after 66 minutes as Keogh set up Sfrijan who finished off a good run at the home defence by finding the net.
There was still time remaining for The Town to press forward as Cobh now retreated into defensive mode. However, Athlone ran out of ideas in how to unhinge the massed home defence.
The closing stages could have proved more interesting had Lyons hit the target with five minutes remaining, but his weak attempt from close range was cleared off the goal line to safety. The Town striker had a further chance in stoppage time but failed to trouble the keeper when heading wide.
Athlone are back on home territory at the weekend when Shelbourne come to town. Having beaten the top three in successive outings, the Reds will be fancied to keep up their winning run.