Athlone Town twice retrieve deficit to claim precious away league point in Cobh


John Dingle

Athlone Town twice retrieved a deficit against Cobh Ramblers at St Colman’s Park on Friday night last to halt a two game losing streak and claim a precious away point in their quest for an end of season play-off berth.

The home team took the lead on 25 minutes but the Town soon levelled matters. Ramblers regained their lead in first half stoppage time but Athlone again restored parity just after the hour mark. A point apiece at the finish was a fair outcome.

Corner kicks were exchanged in the early stages with Aaron Connolly firing over for the visitors and Conor Drinan having a chance for Cobh. Frantz Pierrot then headed wide for the Town but the bright opening soon faded as the game dramatically sprung back to life midway through the half.

Drinan was unlucky to see his shot from the left come back off the butt of the post, while Matthew Leal responded for Athlone by shooting over the bar. The scoring was eventually opened on 25 minutes as Wilson Waweru passed to Luke Desmond who shot to the roof of the net from the edge of the penalty area.

Valerii Dolia then had a chance to equalise while Dale Holland for Cobh had a shot saved by Vlad Velikin. Pierrot was denied by Lee Steacy on 31 minutes when his shot on the turn was pushed over. The Town top scorer was not to be denied for long though as a minute later another shot on the turn from the edge of the box this time flew past the keeper’s right.

There was a controversial ending to the half as Cobh struck in what was the second additional minute after just one had been indicated. Athlone felt aggrieved as Drinan rose to head home the corner delivery from Daragh Connell to put Cobh back in front.

Adam Lennon replaced Dolia for the second half and the substitute almost had an instant impact. The number seven lifted the ball over the keeper but was unlucky to see his attempt hit the post. Cobh had to soak up more pressure up to the hour mark. Athlone earned a corner and followed it up with three more before eventually grabbing an equaliser after 61 minutes, Steacy fluffing a long range attempt from Leal into the net.

Cobh regrouped and then enjoyed 10 minutes of dominance. A corner was followed by Brendan Frahill having a chance. Velikin also made a fine double save to deny Shane Keegan’s men. Both teams had chances to collect full points during the closing stages. Athlone substitute Jack Kavanagh had a shot blocked from Lennon’s right wing cross with the latter then shooting just wide following a counter attack.

Another substitute Josh McGlone had the visitor’s last chance in normal time. Opportunities either side of the 90 minute mark fell Cobh’s way but Velikins agility and Liam Kervicks narrow miss ensured it remained level to the finish. Athlone earned a corner in the fifth additional minute but were unable to replicate their last visit to Cobh in 2022 which ended in victory.


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