Athlone Town succumb to defeat as Galway United prove too strong in Eamonn Deacy Park


John Dingle

Athlone Town were easily disposed of in Eamonn Deacy Park on Friday night last as Galway United recorded their eighth straight home win of 2023.

The hosts totally dominated the opening half but only had a penalty kick to show for all their efforts. Another goal early in the second half looked to have the runaway league leaders heading towards another victory but Frantz Pierrot reduced the deficit after the hour mark. The two goal lead though was quickly restored leaving Athlone slipping to their third defeat in four games.

Aside from a couple of chances, Athlone had their backs to the wall in the opening half. Ed McCarthy had a right-wing cross pushed away by Vlad Velikin and the Town keeper then tipped over a Maurice Nugent header. The resulting corner kick was followed by a dozen more as Galway piled on the pressure.

Athlone finally succumbed to the Galway United pressure with just 12 minutes played when Patrick Hickey was adjudged to have taken down Francely Lomboto and David Hurley stepped up to tuck away the resulting spot kick.

Athlone then had their first chance on 19 minutes. Haji Abdikadir crossed from the right to pick out Pierrot whose shot took a deflection to put it behind for what proved to be the visitor’s only corner of the game.

Athlone’s other chance in the half came after 36 minutes when Abdikadir fired over. Galway had more opportunities to add to their lead before half time arrived. Stephen Walsh sent a shot on the turn just wide with Velikin denying top scorer Vincent Borden with a fine save. The woodwork also thwarted the home team as Walsh headed onto the bar from McCarthy’s cross.

Athlone made a triple substitution at the break and came more into the game during the second half. The half got underway with Galway earning their 14th corner of the contest. The lead was doubled after 52 minutes when, following a scramble in the penalty box, the ball fell to Walsh whose low shot found the net.

Athlone responded positively however and Jamar Campion-Hinds sent a cross from the right over, while Hickey should have done better when an Adam Lennon cross picked him out but he headed tamely over the bar.

Athlone were handed a lifeline on 65 minutes. Nugent fouled Pierrot and the Town top scorer then sent the Galway keeper the wrong way from the resulting spot kick. Lennon further revived away hopes with an off-target effort. Any dreams of a comeback were shattered though as the two goal lead for Galway was restored after 71 minutes.

Athlone failed to deal with a free kick played into the penalty box and the ensuing scramble saw Killian Brouder take advantage to force the ball home. It ended the scoring but United had one more chance to again find the net. McCarthy was unlucky to see his headed effort go wide off the bar.

Athlone had just one more chance in stoppage time. Josh McGlone had been one of those half time substitutes and fired wide in the third additional minute.


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