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Athlone win in Cork to go top of the table

James Doona’s cool finish with 12 minutes to go proved to be the difference between the two sides

Image: Brian Reilly-Troy/INPHO

Cork City 0

Athlone Town 1

Andrew Horgan reports from Turner’s Cross

ATHLONE TOWN are top of the SSE Airtricity League First Division table as they defeated Cork City 1-0 at Turner’s Cross on Friday evening.

James Doona’s cool finish with 12 minutes to go proved to be the difference between the two sides as Athlone made it back-to-back wins and sit in first on seven points, while City have now suffered back-to-back defeats.

Buoyed by their impressive win against one of the title favourites Galway United last time out, the visitors started brightly and created the best chance of the first half inside the opening minutes.

Kurtis Byrne did well to keep a long pass in on the end line and hooked it back towards Adam Wixted, but the winger’s powerful shot from close range was well saved by Mark McNulty before the ball was scrambled clear.

Byrne would have the half’s second-best chance shortly before the break but he could only slice James Doona’s lay-off wide from a good position on the edge of the penalty area.

But, between those sights at goal, City dominated. George Heaven and Jonas Hakkinen, who was making his debut, showed promising signs that they could form a solid partnership, while Alec Byrne controlled the midfield and Jack Walsh cleverly linked up the play in attack.

For all their possession, they failed to truly threaten the Athlone goal, with Walsh rolling an effort inches wide of the far post. Cian Bargary and the lively Dylan McGlade both tested Michael Schlingermann, but he was equal to their fierce hits.

Colin Healy’s side began the second 45 with more urgency and shortly after Heaven side-footed wide of the near post, Bargary drilled low but was denied by the feet of Schlingermann when through one-on-one with the shot-stopper.

Walsh skipped past a number of Town defenders in the 68th minute, allowing him to tee up Gearoid Morrissey. The skipper’s shot deflected back towards Walsh, but the striker’s well-struck volley was straight at the ‘keeper.

Cian Murphy was introduced on 77 minutes to give City more cutting edge up front, but within seconds of that substitute being made, Athlone grabbed what proved to be the winner.

Finnish defender Hakkinen miscued his clearance and after it fell kindly for James Doona, the winger calmly shifted the ball onto his left before slotting it into the bottom right corner of the Shed End net.

City pressed for a leveller late on, but Walsh and Coleman missed with their headers.

Wixted then squandered a glorious chance for Athlone when through on goal in injury time, but it was of little consequence.

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CORK CITY: Mark McNulty; Steven Beattie, George Heaven, Jonas Hakkinen, Ronan Hurley; Gearoid Morrissey, Alec Byrne (Beineon O’Brien Whitmarsh 81); Cian Bargary (Cian Murphy 77), Cian Coleman, Dylan McGlade; Jack Walsh.

ATHLONE TOWN: Michael Schlingermann; Aidan Friel, Killian Cantwell, Dylan Hand, Derek Daly; Jamie Hollywood, Dan McKenna; Adam Wixted, Kurtis Byrne, James Doona; Stephen Meany (Shane Barnes 71).

Referee: Mark Moynihan.

Other First Division results:

UCD 0-0 Bray

Treaty United 1-1 Cobh Ramblers

Shelbourne 1-0 Wexford

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