Points deservedly shared in Midland’s derby as Athlone Town extend late season unbeaten run


The curtain was brought down on the 2022 Midlands derby as Athlone Town stretched their unbeaten run to three games with this home draw with Longford Town in Lissywollen on Friday night.

The home team were in front on two occasions during proceedings but had to settle for a share of the spoils. Adam Lennon handed Athlone an early lead which was quickly cancelled out. Thomas Oluwa restored the advantage just before the half time break but a marvellous strike from Aaron Robinson gained a point for the visitors.

Gary Cronin’s men earned the first corner kick of the game from which Sam Verdon had a shot blocked. Athlone quickly restored parity with their first corner which led to the opening score with just five minutes played as Longford were caught napping at the back and Lennon took advantage to fire to the roof of the net from six yards range.

The lead was short-lived as Longford grabbed an equaliser four minutes later, a cross from the left was not cleared allowing Jordan Adeyemo to score. Athlone had the better chances thereafter. Patrick Hickey headed wide while Aaron Connolly fired off target as three corners also kept up the home pressure. Lennon had a shot saved on 27 minutes but Enda Minogue then pulled off a good save from Darren Clarke to prevent Longford from taking the lead.

Oluwa then had a shot saved while Longford’s last response in the half came from a corner. Athlone headed off for half time in front as they scored again after 43 minutes. A Longford attack broke down and Minogue’s clearance picked out Lennon on the left. Having skipped past his marker, the number seven waited for support to arrive. Oluwa raced to the far post and headed home the resulting cross from close range. Athlone now headed off for half time with a slender advantage.

A third win in a row was in prospect for Athlone when play resumed and they had a good chance to further stretch their lead early on. Hickey’s shot was pushed behind at his near post by visiting goalkeeper Colm Cox. Clarke was off target from Longford’s first chance. The visitors again levelled matters shortly after the hour mark. The ball was cleared but only as far as Robinson who was some thirty-five yards out, but his fantastic long-range strike flew into the top corner of the net past a helpless Minogue had Longford level, a serious contender for goal of the season.

There was little further action for the remainder of the game. Athlone’s sole chances fell to Gary Armstrong who headed over and Lennon who had a dangerous cross from the right collected by the keeper. A share of the spoils was the obvious outcome as the half progressed. Athlone had let the lead slip twice but hung on to keep their unbeaten run going. Longford had the last chances as a corner was followed by Robinson again trying his luck from long range. Another away corner on 85 minutes completed the action.


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