First defeat of league campaign but Athlone Town retain premier position


Athlone Town’s poor record against Cabinteely continued when they slumped to their first defeat of the season last Friday night.

Since the Dublin club joined the league in 2015, Athlone have beaten them on just three occasions. It should have been four though as the Town missed a plethora of chances to have made it five wins in a row.

Pat Devlin’s men took the lead just before the half time break and doubled their advantage midway through the second half. Adam Wixted pulled a goal back late on and brilliant goalkeeping from Adam Hayden ensured even a share of the spoils proved beyond the home team.

Athlone earned two early corners and Cabo keeper Hayden was soon making the first of a number of fine saves. Wixted was off target on two occasions while, midway through the half, Hayden pushed a shot from Kurtis Byrne over the bar.

Derek Daly saw a weak shot saved with Shane Barnes then having a shot blocked as Byrne sent the rebound over. Cabinteely were under pressure but made the most of the few chances that fell their way.

Two minutes from the break, a cross from the right was not properly cleared by the home defence and the unmarked Niall Barnes pounced to find the net from ten yards range. It was against the run of play as James Doona had the last chance of the half for a shocked Athlone outfit.

It was a similar story when play resumed but Athlone again failed to make the most from the multitude of chances they created. An early corner kept up the pressure on Cabinteely with Byrne again out of luck after 49 minutes.

Daly then fired over from a corner while a rare Cabinteely attack saw Micheal Schlingermann deny Ben Hanrahan. Killian Cantwell was next to fail to find the target as he shot over from close range after meeting a corner kick at the far post.

Barnes was also off target while midway through the half, Hayden further frustrated Byrne. Cabinteely took advantage to double their lead on 69 minutes. The visitors worked the ball into the middle from the left and Hanrahan celebrated with an unstoppable shot to the roof of the net from long range.

Athlone finally made the breakthrough with 10 minutes remaining. Cabinteely failed to deal with a long ball into the penalty box. Wixted took advantage as the final touch off a defender took the ball over the line.

The home team should have claimed at least a point in the closing moments. Jamie Hollywood fired wide while either side of the 90 minute mark, Athlone had two good chances to find the net.

Hayden, though, completed a man of the match display with brilliant saves. The last chance in normal time fell to Brandon McCann but the substitutes strike was saved.

Byrne had a chance to salvage a point in the first minute of additional time but Hayden dived to his right to push the ball behind.


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