Eight without a win as Athlone ship three

Ian Fletcher has returned to Athlone Town after a brief spell with Longford

Ian Fletcher has returned to Athlone Town after a brief spell with Longford

Athlone Town’s winless run stretched to eight games as Shelbourne inflicted another defeat on the home side at Lissywollen last Friday night (July 7 ).

The visitors led at half time through an Adam Evans double; a second-half penalty kick sealing the victory. Conor Barry scored the goal of the game soon after the spot kick, but it arrived too late to inspire an Athlone comeback.

With Mick Dolan taking charge in the absence of manager Roddy Collins, Athlone had a great chance to open the scoring with 15 minutes played. A long kick out fell to Jason Lyons who managed to pick out Dragos Sfrijan whose goal-bound strike was deflected behind for the Town’s first corner.

Shelbourne took advantage of the early let-off to find the net six minutes later. Dylan Kavanagh attacked down the right wing and played the ball into Evans, who from inside the six-yard box bundled the ball home. Lyons should have done better when getting on the end of a corner kick but headed tamely at Reds’ goalkeeper Dean Delaney.

The lead was doubled 10 minutes from the half-time break with Evans again on target. The striker found the net from a tight angle on the right edge of the six-yard box with centre half Cormac Raftery unable to clear the ball off the goal line. While hardly the better team, Shelbourne still headed off for the break with a comfortable lead as Athlone stared at yet another defeat.

Ian Fletcher joined the action for the second half following his return from Longford and quickly got down to the task by raiding down the left flank. Ethan Keogh had the first chance on the resumption of play, while just before the hour mark Evans came close to grabbing his hat-trick, but after rounding the keeper shot into the side netting.

The victory was sealed by Shels with a third goal 16 minutes from the end. Colm Coss was adjudged to have fouled James English inside the penalty area, and the resulting spot kick was drilled under the keeper’s body by English.

There was little time for Athlone to stage a real comeback, but the response was immediate as Barry found the net with a well-struck volley which Delaney had no chance of saving.

Former Athlone player Mark Hughes almost restored the three-goal advantage, but Igor Labuts did well to punch away the pile driver. With five minutes remaining, The Town should have reduced the deficit to the bare minimum when Keogh looked set to find the net from 12 yards. The finish was poor however from the number 10 as the ball flew over the bar.

Shelbourne retreated into a defensive shell for the closing stages, with Athlone unable to create any further chances as the four additional minutes were wound down by the visitors.

Athlone are again at home at the weekend with Cabinteely the visitors on Friday night (July 14 ).


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