League Report: Athlone Town 1 - 3 Galway United

John Caulfield

John Caulfield Credit: Steve Alfred (ETPhotos)

Paul Corcoran reports from Athlone Town Stadium

Galway United continued their perfect start to the season by recording their seventh straight win when they beat Athlone Town 3-1 at Lissywollen on Friday night.

The Tribesmen had to come from behind as Frantz Pierrot put the side in front in the first half but a David Hurley brace and a goal from Stephen Walsh gave United another three points this season.

Dermot Lennon went for three changes to his side from their narrow win over Kerry last week as Valerij Dolia, Oisin Duffy and Jamar Campion-Hinds all started with Aaron McBride dropping to the bench, while Matthew Leal and Isaie Louis missed out.

Galway United went with one change from their 1-0 win over Longford Town with David Hurley coming into the team in place of Ibrahim Keita for his first start since the Tribesmen faced Waterford on Friday, 3 March.

The visitors had the first shot on target, and it came in the fifth minute when Vincent Borden manged to get in behind the defence thanks to a lovely long ball by Killian Brouder from the backline – Enda Minogue was quick off his line and made the close range save to deny United’s leading goal scorer.

Athlone had the ball in the net in the 19th minute thanks to some strong play by the imposing Frantz Perrot – the striker’s goal was disallowed though as referee Paul Norton had blown his whistle for a handball in the build up to the goal.

Noah van Geenan made a crucial intervention in the 24th minute when a Ronan Manning corner was headed out only as far as Conor O’Keeffe, the Tribesman headed the all back at goal but the Athlone defender managed to head the ball up and over the crossbar on the line.

There was a crazy period in the 34th minute when German Fuentes Rodriguez upended Borden giving the visitors a penalty, Hurley with a rare poor penalty had his effort saved by Minouge giving Athlone the chance to break up the field.

They had Galway on the roped and Campion-Hinds drilled a great cross from the left to Pierrot at the back post who smashed the ball into the net to put the home side in front.

Athlone wouldn’t hold that lead for long however, when just four minutes later Ed McCarthy held the ball up well on the right before playing it back to Colm Horgan – the defender dinked the ball into the box and allowed Hurley to make up for his earlier penalty miss as the midfielder glanced the ball into the bottom corner with his head.

When Campion-Hinds lost the ball in a dangerous effort in the 52nd minute Hurley came close to nabbing a second goal as it fell into his path – his effort was well struck but ultimately clanged against the woodwork.

The Tribesmen nudged themselves in front just before the hour mark – Stephen Walsh found Hurley on the edge of the box and the midfielder showed some great skill to cut inside his defender to make some space for himself in the box to slot the ball into the bottom corner.

Athlone still posed a major threat to Galway despite going behind with Campion-Hinds and Pierrot looking like two of their most dangerous players throughout. The pair combined in the 64th minute with a great move on the right, but Campion-Hinds shot was saved by Brendan Clarke.

The home side really looked on top following Galway’s second goal and looked the most likely to score again but United finished this contest in style in the 74th minute when McCarthy played Walsh in behind the defence – the striker just about staying onside – he kept his composure to slot the ball home for his third goal of the season.

Athlone did try and keep the pressure on late on to their credit and Pierrot went very close to narrowing the gap in the 88th minute with a header from a Haji Abdikadir cross, Clarke just managing to make a fingertip save to deny the striker.

Athlone Town: Enda Minogue; Haji Abdikadir, Oisin Duffy (Charles Mutawe 46), German Rodriguez, Noah van Geenan; Jamar Campion-Hinds, Aaron Connolly, Valerij Dolia, Patrick Hickey, Adam Lennon; Frantz Pierrot.

Subs not used: Vladislav Velikin, Osaze Irhue, Matthew Leal, Aaron McBride, Blake Ryan, Nazar Zubkov, Matthew Baker, Gavin Gilmore.

Booked: Oisin Duffy (32), Charles Mutawe (65), Valerij Dolia (82).

Galway United: Brendan Clarke; Killian Brouder, Colm Horgan (Maurice Nugent 77), Conor O'Keeffe, Rob Slevin; Vincent Borden, David Hurley (Mikie Rowe 84), Ronan Manning (Francely Lomboto 77), Edward McCarthy (Darren Clarke 77), Conor McCormack; Stephen Walsh (Ibrahim Keita 84).

Subs not used: Alex Rutter, Evan O'Connor, Steven Healy, Rob Manley.

Booked: Colm Horgan (46), Stephen Walsh (71), Conor O'Keeffe (90).

Referee: Paul Norton.

Attendance: 1,138

extratime.com Player of the Match: David Hurley (Galway United)