Welcome home draw halts run of six consecutive losses for Athlone Town

ATHLONE TOWN 1

COBH RAMBLERS 1

John Dingle

Athlone stopped a run of six consecutive defeats when they shared the spoils with Cobh Ramblers at home last Friday night.

It looked like another loss for the Town when they found themselves behind at half time as Jaze Kabia found the net from one of the few chances created by the visitors. Athlone were again in command during the second half but did not look like they would break down the Rambler’s defence. Gavin Kearney was the unlikely home hero when he popped up late on to force the ball home following a free kick.

Athlone had most of the chances in the first half. Aaron Brilly was in early action having a shot saved after just six minutes play. The lively opening continued for the Town as Brilly had another chance following a left wing cross from Kaleem Simon. The scoring should have been opened with 16 minutes played. Evan White sent in a cross from the right but Simon failed to find the net as he fired wide from a good position.

Simon and Brilly were again involved soon after but the Cobh goal remained intact. A further corner followed but it was Cobh that opened the scoring on 38 minutes. Athlone lost possession allowing Cobh to counter attack. Jaze Kabia raided down the left and, from the edge of the six yard box, slipped the ball past Aaron Myles into the far corner of the net.

The second half was a similar story with Athlone piling on the pressure but lacking the finishing touch. Dillon had the first chance when firing over and then setting up the returning Dean Williams whose shot was blocked for a corner. Cobh earned their first corner before the hour mark from which Shane O’Connor shot wide.

The next fifteen minutes saw the home team pile forward but without seriously troubled the Rambler’s rearguard. Two more corners were earned but still an equaliser seemed a remote prospect as Cobh held firm. Simon had a good chance to level matters with ten minutes remaining, but his shot was saved by Cobh keeper Paul Hunt.

The equaliser finally arrived with seven minutes left as Kearney scored his first goal for Athlone. Shane Dunne sent in a free kick from just inside the Cobh half to the far post. Defender Ciaran Grogan headed the ball back into the six yard box. A scramble in front of the goal ended when Kearney got the lucky break to force the ball home from close range.

Having been on top and finally levelled matters, Athlone were now expected to push for a winner, but it was Cobh though that finished the stronger as they came closest to claiming all three points. Stephen Kenny fired wide with just the second Cobh corner following on the stroke of full time. There was still time for some late drama in stoppage time. Ian Turner fired goalwards but the shot was blocked on the line as Athlone survived to claim a precious point.

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