Athlone Town slump to fourth consecutive away league defeat as Wanderers win in Bray


John Dingle

Ten-man Athlone Town slumped to their fourth consecutive away defeat in as Bray Wanderers recorded their first home win of the season at the Carlisle Grounds on Friday night last.

The visitors faced a tough task when Dylan Hand was sent off last Friday night and further punishment was to follow when Bray scored from the resulting free kick. Two more goals early in the second half sealed victory for Ian Ryan’s team.

The Town were competitive in the early stages but there was little excitement up to the half hour mark. Peter Grogan had the first chance for the home team while an inviting ball across the box by Kieran Cruise from the left went wide.

Evan Osam then had a shot saved while Athlone's first opportunity fell to Dan McKenna who fired wide from long range after 15 minutes. Goalkeeper Enda Minogue was quickly out to claim a Harry Groome pass but the excitement generated by an opening goal still looked unlikely.

Aaron Connolly tried his luck from long range with an effort which went wide but the game was to turn on a decision after 32 minutes. Hand tangled with Groome and the referee adjudged that the Town number six had stood on his opponent. Further punishment followed from the resulting free kick as Shane Griffin drilled the ball over the defensive wall and a cruel bounce in front of Minogue saw the ball end up in the net. The hosts grew in confidence having taken the lead but did not add to their tally before the break as Athlone were still in contention when a dramatic opening half ended.

The second half was mainly one-way traffic and Wanderers had the three points wrapped up by the hour mark. The lead was doubled from the first action of the half with 56 minutes played. Conor Knight sent in a cross from the right. Grogan was unlucky to see his attempt hit the upright but Paul Murphy reacted quickly to head home from close range. Bray ended the game as a contest just before the hour mark. Minogue tried to shepherd Grogan away from goal but the home striker did well to find the net from the right.

It was now a damage limitation exercise for the Town but they did not concede again in the remaining half an hours play to restore some respectability. A chance fell to Dean Ebbe midway through the half but the ball was flicked over the bar following Brian Torres free kick.

Bray earned their third and final corner with 15 minutes remaining and the best chance of another home goal arrived moments later. Guillermo Almirall took aim but his goal bound strike was blocked.

Athlone even had a couple of chances to grab a consolation score before the final whistle sounded. Both opportunities fell to Carl Mujaguzi, the first of which saw the Town player fire over from outside the penalty area. The second, in stoppage time, saw Stephen McGuinness make a save.


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