Athlone Town 4 0 UCD
Athlone Town completed their First Division campaign at home to UCD last Saturday night (October 7 ).
While there was nothing at stake for either team aside from pride, the hosts did have a chance to get off the foot of the table with a win, provided Wexford lost. The Students, meanwhile, were guaranteed third spot.
Georgie Kelly proved to be the UCD hero, as his three goals made it four wins from four for the students against the Town in 2017. It was the striker’s second hat-trick in as many games against the hapless hosts.
The visitors started brightly and were soon putting pressure on young Jack Lydon, who was making his senior debut between the posts for Athlone. The hosts won their first corner kick of the night on the quarter hour mark, but Kelly soon opened the floodgates after 25 minutes play. Athlone tried to clear the danger but a block down left the UCD striker one-on-one with Lydon, and The Students took the lead.
Kelly grabbed his second just before the half-time break when he had loads of time to take down a cross and fire past The Town's debutant keeper. Stephen Walsh was suspended and his experience was missed at the heart of the home defence.
Kelly took little time to complete his hat-trick on the resumption of play. After being taken down in the penalty box by Cormac Raftery, the number nine slotted home the resulting spot kick. It also confirmed the striker as the top scorer in the division, having added handsomely to his tally whenever facing Athlone. It was goal number nine in total against The Town for Kelly.
Athlone responded with two corner kicks before the hour mark, while Peter Walsh should have made more of a good chance after 75 minutes. As the game entered its closing stages the home side came close on a number of occasions. A consolation score should have followed, but summing up a dreadful season, nothing went right in front of the target.
With 10 minutes remaining, Ethan Nkololo somehow failed to score with the goal at his mercy. After getting past the UCD keeper, the Athlone winger seemed set to score but blasted off target from close range. Nkololo had another golden opportunity late on, but again blazed wide with only the keeper to beat.
The visitors wrapped up the scoring with a fourth goal in the final minute to add further grief for The Town. Two second half substitutes linked up as Daire O’Connor set up Cian Kavanagh who slotted the ball into the corner of the net.
Just the bare minimum of stoppage time was played before Athlone were finally put out of their misery. The league table shows Athlone again at the bottom, as the 2016 basement boys failed to improve on their position from the previous season. After starting well by winning their two opening games, The Town then added just two further victories from the remaining 26 league outings.