A game of missed chances for Athlone Town

Longford Town 2 Athlone Town 0

Martin Russell’s last game in charge of Athlone Town ended in defeat. The first Midlands derby of 2022 saw Longford Town claim bragging rights at Bishopsgate last Saturday night. Two goals early in the second half won it for the hosts as Athlone completed their first series of games with just a single point recorded.

The first half was a fairly evenly contested affair and Athlone had two good chances to open the scoring but then had goalkeeper Micheal Schlingermann to thank for keeping them level. First chance fell to the visitors when Thomas Oluwa had a shot saved. Ryan Graydon then fired across the goalmouth from the right for Longford. Sam Verdon had a further chance for the hosts with two corners keeping up the pressure. Athlone though had the best chance to open the scoring midway through the half. Glen McAuley shot straight at the keeper with the goal at his mercy. Verdon had a shout for a penalty kick turned down after 25 minutes. Athlone survived and had another great chance to score moments later. This time McAuley was the provider to set up Gary Armstrong but the finish from the midfielder was poor. Graydon then had a shot blocked and was further denied after 28 minutes by a great reflex save from Schlingermann. Athlone earned their first corner kick on 29 minutes with a second following 10 minutes later. Aaron Robinson volleyed wide for Longford just before the break while a home corner ended action in a lively half.

A dreadful second half display saw Athlone return home suffering another defeat. Athlone were undone from two set pieces. The scoring was opened just two minutes after the restart. Dean McMenamy sent in a free kick from the left which was knocked down to Graydon who finished with ease. Athlone were again caught out at the back six minutes later from Longford’s fifth corner kick. Michael Barker headed home under little pressure. Athlone failed to respond. Longford looked for more goals as a corner kick and a cross from the right by Barnett which was pushed away kept up the pressure. Verdon also had a shot saved. Athlone’s only contribution to the notes thus far came with a triple substitution just after the hour mark. First chance for the visitors came after 21 minutes when a right-wing cross from sub Success Edogun was saved by the keeper. Darren Craven and Shane Elworthy then fired off target for Longford while Athlone let another corner slip away. Edogun then saw another cross from the right caught by the keeper. The final outcome could have been worse for Athlone as Craven scuffed his shot when well placed and Graydon fired wide. Athlone earned their last corner of the game in the final minute but offered no threat from set pieces. Four additional minutes were indicated and a free kick gave Athlone the last scoring chance. The delivery from the left by Stephen Kenny lacked sufficient power to test Luke Dennison.


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