Match Report: Athlone Town 1-0 City

Match Report: Athlone Town 1-0 City

Cork City were handed their first league loss of the season on Friday night as in-form Athlone reminded City that the First Division is far from a foregone conclusion.

It was an interesting match-up coming into the fixture, as City were seventeen straight games unbeaten, but Athlone themselves entered the game unbeaten in eight straight games and were also yet to be beaten at home this season.

Athlone performed impressively all game and were able to match City in almost every area of the pitch, as The Town ran out 1–0 winners.

Jack Doherty was among the three changes to Tim Clancy’s City side from their 1–1 draw at home to Treaty United previously, as the attacker returned to the starting eleven for the first time in seven weeks. Harry Nevin also returned to the side in place of Darragh Crowley, and Niall Brookwell made his fourth start of the season in place of Cian Bargary.

Athlone Town’s Dario Costelo made two changes following his side’s 2–2 draw at home to UCD last Friday, with Jamar Campion-Hinds replacing usual captain Oisin Duffy, with the armband handed to Aaron Connolly for the fixture. Matthew Leal was named to replace the suspended Daniel McKenna in midfield, but the Portuguese native suffered a hamstring injury in the warm-up, and Rúben Candal was drafted as his last-minute replacement.

It took just twelve minutes for the first of many yellow cards of the game to be handed out, as Aaron Connolly attempted to pull Barry Coffey’s jersey off for himself just outside the D.

Athlone struck first in the 18th minute courtesy of Jamar Campion-Hinds, as the winger received a long ball out the right wing and attempted a cross into the City danger area, but his delivery looped sensationally over the head of Bradley Wade and into the City net.

It was certainly not Campion-Hinds’ intention to score, but it was an impressive way to net his first League of Ireland goal.

Just on the half-hour mark, City thought they had equalised as Evan McLaughlin found an unmarked Charlie Lyons in the box, and the centre-back placed his header past the Athlone goalkeeper, but the linesman judged Lyons to be offside and the goal was ruled out.

City continued to create chances, as Cian Murphy did well to beat Athlone’s Dylan Hand down the right flank and delivered a brilliant pass across goal to Jack Doherty, who somehow squandered his shot wide from point-blank range, a chance which seemed more difficult to miss then score.

Evan McLaughlin entered the book for City just five minutes before half-time after a reckless slide-tackle on goal-scorer Jamal Campion-Hinds, as the winger accelerated toward the City goal.

Shamrock Rovers loanee Gideon Tetteh threatened the City defence immediately after, as Carl Mujaguzi delivered him a good pass down the left-hand side, and Tetteh showed his skills as he embarked on a dizzying run into the box, but was stopped in his tracks by Cian Coleman.

On the stroke of half-time, Niall Brookwell was forced off through injury after his attacking run was halted by a dirty trip from Noah van Geenen outside the box, with van Geenen handed a yellow card for the offence.

Brookwell went over hard onto the astroturf surface and landed on his shoulder, with the Englishman substituted off and replaced by Cian Bargary.

The sides entered the break with Athlone 1–0 to the good, with City well aware they were being outplayed for possibly the first time this season.

In the 52nd minute, Barry Coffey picked out Cian Murphy with an accurate cross into the box, but the striker’s glancing header only fell straight into the goalkeeper’s hands.

Athlone Town appealed for a penalty just moments after, as City’s Evan McLaughlin tussled for the ball with Athlone midfielder Oisin Duffy in the box and both players tripped over one another, but referee Eoghan O’Shea was not convinced and played on.

City captain Cian Coleman was presented with a great opportunity to score from Greg Bolger’s free kick, but the lobbed ball bounced unexpectedly past an Athlone man and Coleman couldn’t react in time to tap the ball into the net.

Bad went to worse for City as Evan McLaughlin was shown a second yellow card after he appeared to strike Oisin Duffy over the head as he tried to collect the ball from the Athlone midfielder to take a City free kick, just moments after Duffy had knocked McLaughlin over in an off the ball incident.

It was a clear moment of frustration from McLaughlin, who looked like he wanted to get straight back at Duffy for the earlier incident.

Despite the red card shown, Charlie Lyons was yet again a dangerous player in front of goal for City. The defender got on the end of a brilliant flick-on and lobbed the Athlone keeper and was certain he had scored but Brian Torre was on hand to clear off the line for Athlone.

City struggled for the remainder of the match and found themselves chasing the game for the final quarter of an hour.

Bradley Wade denied Jamar Campion-Hinds the chance to double Athlone’s lead in the 78th minute, with the winger skipping past Conor Drinan and setting himself up one-on-one with Wade, but the keeper pulled off a brilliant save on the goalscorer.

Unfortunately, no more chances would befall City as their unbeaten streak in the league came to an end.

Next up for City is four consecutive home games in a row, with UCD first up on Bank Holiday Monday, with a massive improvement needed if City are to keep a comfortable gap at the head of the table.

Athlone are also next in action on Monday, as they travel to Ballybofey to take on Finn Harps.

Reading next

Matthew Coughlan appointed Sponsorship, Merchandise and Events Manager
City Edition - Issue 8 Available Now!

Leave a comment

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.