Capital woe for Athlone as visitors succumb to UCD league challenge at the Belfield Bowl


John Dingle

Athlone Town slumped to their second defeat of their league campaign when they were beaten by UCD on Friday night last.

The visitors were under pressure from the shrill of the first whistle, the home team’s first chance of the game at the Belfield Bowl leading to the opening goal as Athlone were punished for losing possession in midfield with just 10 minutes gone, Ciaran Behan drilling a low shot from the edge of the penalty area past goalkeeper Enda Minogue.

Athlone responded positively as Armado Oakley’s shot was almost fumbled by Kian Moore but the keeper got away with conceding just a corner. Another corner followed for Athlone but the next chance after 21 minutes saw UCD double their lead. The visitors were again punished for some slack play as UCD built up a move without any difficulty. Minogue was also guilty as he allowed Mikey Raggett’s shot to slip under his body to the net.

Carl Mujaguzi then had a shot saved for Athlone while Jake Doyle replied with an attempt which went wide. The Town suffered a further blow when reduced to 10 players nine minutes from the break. UCD broke clear and when Dylan Hand committed a last man foul, the referee was soon producing the red card. Behan, however, failed to exert further punishment when firing the resulting free kick over the bar.

Athlone reshuffled their formation with Jarlath Jones moving into a central defensive role and Duffy switching over to left back, the visitors making it to the break without suffering any further agony. UCD earned their first corner kick after 40 minutes while Raggett’s overhead kick was parried by Minogue to end the action in the dramatic half.

The second half contained little action and seemed destined to end scoreless until the last minute. UCD were content to go through the motions while Athlone were looking to restore some respectability after a torrid opening half.

The first action of the second half did not arrive until just before the hour mark when UCD forced their second corner. Athlone never looked like reducing the deficit and a continuation of their winless run to four games was inevitable. Gideon Tetteh had the first Town chance when firing wide. UCD might have made it three nil on 66 minutes but Raggett’s shot following a left wing cross was cleared off the goal line.

Athlone’s last corner of the game after 71 minutes saw German Rodriguez head over. A lacklustre half was soon drawing to a close and another home corner was followed by Donal Higgins shooting over. Ruben Ferreira had the last Athlone chance on 88 minutes but a dreadful night for the visitors was summed up by the finish which was well off target.

It looked like Athlone might make it to full time without conceding again but they were unhinged again in the last minute when a stretched defence was caught out on the counter attack. Doyle grabbed the home team’s third when firing to the roof of the net from just outside the penalty area following a pass from the left.


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