Athlone Town make ground on league leaders with crucial home victory


Athlone Town women’s team made up ground on the top two clubs in the league table when beating Bohemian FC at home last Saturday evening - with division leaders Shelbourne and second placed Wexford both dropping points in their respective fixtures a welcome return to winning ways was extra important.

Athlone’s long unbeaten run had ended a week earlier in Wexford but they had a great chance to bounce back early on. The first action of the contest saw the home team awarded a penalty kick but Emily Corbet blasted the ball over.

Bohs recovered and created the better chances for the remainder of the half, twice being foiled by the woodwork. The first away chance saw Abbie Brophy fire over, prior to Gillian Keenan being off target for Athlone, but it was one of the few times there was any danger to the away goal.

Lisa Murphy drilled a free kick at the keeper with Rebecca Cooke shooting over for Bohs. After 15 minutes, Athlone survived when Bronagh Kane hit a shot from the left which bounced off the post. Ann Marie Byrne then shot over as Keenan replied for the Town. Cooke eventually found her range but Niamh Coombes was well placed to gather the ball.

The last home chance fell to Keenan but she headed wide from a right wing cross. The visitors could then have headed off for the break with the lead when Kane took aim but Coombes made a flying save to push the ball onto the bar. Sinead Taylor had the last chance on the stroke of half time but, once more, Coombes was in form with a good save.

The second half was slow to get back to life with just a couple of chances being created early on. Athlone were slightly off form but two quick fire goals after the midway point of the second half saw the home team get back to winning ways.

The Town’s best chance to date came after 69 minutes when a good move saw Roisin Molloy cross from the right but Brennan was out of luck as her shot hit off the bar. There was however better fortune from a corner kick delivery from Kayleigh Shine as Corbet found the net from close range.

The lead was doubled two minutes later, Corbet the provider this time as her pass picked out Molloy and her shot took a deflection off a Bohs defender to fly past the keeper into the net.

Kelsey Munroe sent a free kick from the right over as the Town looked to add to their tally of goals. It proved to be the last chance created by the home team though as Bohs finished strongly and were finally rewarded for their efforts when awarded a penalty kick with just four minutes remaining.

When Munroe was penalised for handball Coombes blocked the spot kick from Erica Burke but was helpless to prevent the number nine from putting away the rebound. Three additional minutes were indicated but Athlone held firm to record a vital victory and strengthen a grip on third place.


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