Mujaguzi wonder strike ensures Athlone Town claim crucial brace of league points in Kerry


John Dingle

A contender for goal of the season from Carl Mujaguzi just after the hour mark proved to be the winner for Athlone Town as the visitors to Mounthawk Park ended Kerry’s recent unbeaten run in style.

The Town came from behind to beat the league newcomers in Tralee on Friday nigh last to record a first away league win this campaign.

The first half belonged to Kerry and Ryan Kelliher did well to manoeuvre into a shooting position on the edge of the penalty area but his strike was pushed away by Enda Minogue. The away keeper followed up with another good save to deny Sean McGrath.

Athlone were then penalised for handball with 19 minutes gone when a clearance hit off Aaron Connolly’s arms and the referee pointed to the penalty spot. Kennedy Amechi stepped up to take the spot kick and coolly rolled the ball into the net as Minogue dived in the opposite direction. It was a well-deserved lead and Athlone were lucky not to concede again as the halfww progressed.

Kelliher almost doubled the lead moments later but, after latching onto a ball forward, was unlucky to find the side netting after drawing Minogue out of position. Athlone finally began to come more into contention as half time approached. Ruben Ferreira and Matthew Leal had chances in quick succession, but it was somewhat of a surprise though when the visitors grabbed an equaliser just before the break. Oisin Duffy delivered a cross into the penalty area from the right. Sam Aladesanusi fluffed his clearance from ten yards out and Ruben Ferreira was on hand to capitalise on the defensive error to fire to the net.

Following the resumption of play, the home team tried to regain the lead and had a couple of decent opportunities early on to do so. Kerry’s challenge soon faded though and Athlone now came more into the game. Just before the hour mark, top scorer Dean Ebbe beat goalkeeper Antonio Tuta to a Brian Torre cross to head goalwards but Kevin Williams was well placed to clear the ball off the line.

Athlone struck for what proved to be the winner with 64 minutes played through a fantastic goal from Mujaguzi. A throw in from Jamar Campion-Hinds was headed out to the number seven who acrobatically twisted to fire a first time shot to the corner of the net, certainly an early contender for goal of the season.

Ebbe now came to the fore and was narrowly wide with an attempt on goal before creating the opening for Mujaguzi to try and grab his second of the game. The strike was on target but the woodwork intervened on 79 minutes to deny Athlone, keeping Kerry from going two goals in arrears.

Substitute Gideon Tetteh had the chance to make it three one for Athlone deep into stoppage time but drilled his shot harmlessly wide from Minogue’s long clearance. The final whistle saw Athlone celebrating their first away win in the league for 2024 and achieving successive league victories.


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