Athlone Town 1
Brendan White reports from Lissywollen
AN 88TH-MINUTE Colm Coss goal gave Athlone Town a 1-0 win against promotion favourites Waterford FC on the opening night of the SSE Airtricity League First Division.
The game was a tight affair, with both sides creating numerous chances, but it was Coss who fired the winner past Waterford keeper McLoughlin.
After a delay of 30 minutes due to floodlight failure, the home side and Kenny McEvoy were first to threaten but his cross from the right couldn’t find the head of Mark O’Sullivan and it was well defended by Athlone Town defender Kirlis Grigorovs.
Kenny Browne threatened when he latched onto a Dean O’Halloran free-kick but his left-footed strike was just wide of the Athlone Town goal.
Town goalkeeper Igors Labuts was quick off his line minutes later after Browne had looked to set O’Halloran away but Labuts got his hands on the ball to prevent the danger.
Labuts was called into action again midway through the half. Patrick McClean and O’Halloran linked up well for the latter to cross but the goalkeeper was alert and made a good save from Browne’s header.
The home side came into the game from here and had the best chance of the first half. Jason Molloy did brilliantly down the left to cross for Colm Coss but Waterford defender Shane O’Connor made a goal-saving block to keep it scoreless.
And Athlone had another great chance five minutes later. A poor touch from Waterford defender Jake Evans allowed Jose Viegas in for the home side and it took a great save from Blues keeper Ian McLoughlin to keep the sides evel.
The visitors had a good chance three minutes into the second period. Garry Comerford’s corner found the head of McClean who helped the ball toward Puri, but Town keeper Labuts smothered the effort. Shane O’Connor fired over before O’Sullivan had a goal ruled out for offside for the visitors.
At the other end, Val Feeney had a great chance for Athlone after David Brookes did well down the left, but he saw his shot go narrowly over McLoughlin’s crossbar. Dragog Srfijan went close for the home side as the game entered the final quarter, but his low strike drifted narrowly wide of the far post.
But Athlone grabbed a deserved winner with just two minutes remaining. Blues defender Jake Evans tried to bring possession from defence but was dispossessed, before Colm Coss fired an unstoppable left-footed strike from the edge of the area past Waterford goalkeeper McLoughlin to hand the home side the opening-weekend three points.
Waterford: Ian McLoughlin; Jake Evans, Kenny Browne, Patrick McClean, Shane O’Connor (Davy McDaid, 82); Dean O’Halloran (Derek Daly, 62), Tom Smith, Garry Comerford, Kenny McEvoy; Sander Puri; Mark O’Sullivan.
Athlone Town: Igors Labuts, Niall Scullion (Fredrico Hernandez, 56), David Brookes, Kirlis Grigorovs, Cormac Raftery, Dragog Srfijan, Jason Molloy, Colm Coss, Jason Lyons, Val Feeney, Jose Viegas.
First Division results
Athlone Town 1 (Coss, 88) Waterford United 0
Cabinteely 0 UCD 1 (Power, 39)
Shelbourne 0 Longford Town 0