Disappointment most prevalent as Athlone Town concede late goal in Midlands ‘El Clasico’


John Dingle

Athlone Town let a vital league victory slip from their grasp in this Midlands derby against Longford Town at Bishopsgate on Saturday night last.

The visitors had opened the scoring early in the second half and had two good chances to then seal the win. However, the home team struck for a share of the spoils with an equalising goal two minutes from full time.

The opening half contained little meaningful action. Athlone had the first chance on 10 minutes when top scorer Dean Ebbe fired over. Amardo Oakley was also off target with a shot from the right as two corner kicks kept up the pressure from the away team.

Longford came more into contention as the half progressed and had the better of the exchanges in the last ten minutes of the half. Conor Crowley’s cross from the right was safely gathered by goalkeeper Enda Minogue while Dean O’Shea then headed Crowley’s free kick wide. With little goalmouth action on show, it was no surprise that the half ended scoreless.

The outcome was to hinge on action at both ends late in the game as Athlone were denied a second goal to be then followed by Longford equalising - all in the space of 60 seconds.

Athlone made a better start to the second half than the home team and were soon to break the deadlock, striking on 53 minutes when Gideon Tetteh finished off a good move. Oakley showed good skill on the right edge of the box and pulled the ball back to Tetteh on the edge of the penalty area whose low shot went past the keeper’s left into the net.

Another corner was earned by Athlone while Longford’s first corner was forced just before the hour mark. The following corner was to fall the visitor’s way as Carl Mujaguzi also headed over on 63 minutes. A further corner featured in the next piece of action as Athlone successfully defended the delivery.

The visitors should have doubled their lead midway through the half but Brady pulled off a great save to frustrate Tetteh in his pursuit of a second score. Had Athlone scored it would have made the closing stages more comfortable but the visitors still seemed well in control as the half progressed. Brian Torre drilled a free kick over the bar while another corner kept up the pressure on the home defence.

Longford had hardly threatened the Athlone rearguard and their last corner with 10 minutes remaining was easily dealt with. Jamal Ibrahim was not long in the game as an Athlone substitute and had the opportunity to create an instant impact with just two minutes remaining but was denied by a goal line clearance.

It was to prove a crucial intervention as the hosts were next to score when the ball was worked downfield. The ball was headed across the goalmouth by O’Shea and substitute Emmanuel James got in between the Athlone central defenders to head home. Another win for Dario Castelo’s men appeared to be on the cards but the three points were snatched from their grasp.


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