Williams returns to haunt Athlone with second half hat-trick


Athlone Town's last away win was in Bray back in March but there was no happy return to the Carlisle Grounds last Friday night.

Dean Williams was in the Town team then but returned to haunt his former club after his loan period in the Midlands from Shamrock Rovers ended. The striker is now with Bray for the rest of the season and grabbed a second half hat-trick.

Athlone were very disappointing especially after a fine performance against table toppers Shelbourne at home a week earlier. Aaron Brilly's strike had sealed the victory for Terry Butler's men on their last visit but home goalkeeper Gabriel Sava did not have to make a serious save on this occasion. Little was offered in attack where neither new signing Jean Yves Poame nor his replacement Evan Pierce were able to make an impact.

Bray's Sean Heaney had the first chance when he headed wide following a free kick. Athlone earned the first corner kick after 10 minutes from which Darren Meenan fired wide. John Martin and Philip Gannon were also off target for the home team. There was little further action up to the midway point of the half. Kealan Dillon had a chance after 28 minutes but it was one of the few times the Town created any danger. Heaney was again off target from a free with Brandon McCann also heading over. Martin fired across the Athlone goal from the right with Janabi Amour blasting wide at the other end. The visitors forced the final corner on the stroke of half time but the long whistle soon brought an instantly forgettable half to a conclusion.

All the goals came during the second half as Williams collected the match ball with a hat-trick. McCann had the first chance to open the scoring within the first minute but his shot was put behind. Pierce then had an early chance to celebrate his introduction but headed over following a corner. The deadlock was finally broken after 56 minutes. Luke Nolan sent in a cross from the right and Williams found the net from ten yards range. It sent the striker into double figures for 2019. The next action saw the lead doubled.

Shane Dunne blocked down a shot for a throw in. The delivery caught Athlone unawares when the ball was sent back into the danger zone. Williams raced into again to find the net. Rhys Gorman responded for Athlone when firing over the bar after 66 minutes. Moments later Williams was denied his hat-trick when Myles pushed away his goalbound strike. Gorman had another chance to reduce the deficit after 79 minutes but once more the shot sailed over the bar.

The victory was sealed on 86 minutes when Williams completed his hat-trick. Coming in at the near post for a right wing cross and getting ahead of his marker, Williams forced the ball home.

It was one of Athlone's poorest displays of the season as Bray easily collected the three points.


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