Kildare suffer defeat in Athlone
Athlone Town 3 Kildare County 0
John Ryan gave Philly Hughes his “second” debut in Athlone last night as the returning Centre Forward gave us a reminder of his ability and with a few more games under his belt he is sure to an addition to the squad.
Willie Tyrell replaced the suspended Paul Donnelly in the centre of the defence.
The game was only a minute old when the home side took the lead after Joey Maloney's shot was deflected behind off a County defender fora corner following a free kick hit by Ian Coffey into the “wall”.
Joey Maloney took the resulting corner kick and Jim Sheridan powerfully headed the ball to the net and send Athlone on their way to victory.
John Mernagh and Ian Coffey had further chances for Athlone side, while Philly Hughes had a good header skim the crossbar and Barry Slattery should have done better with a cross from Ciaran Kilduff.
Kildare's best chance came midway through the half as the woodwork denied the visitors an equalising score after Ciaran Kelly came out to block the ball and divert for a corner after Philly Hughes had been played through by good interplay involving Fortune and Kilduff.
Goalkeeper Ciaran Kelly came to gather Issaka Baba's corner kick, but Ciaran Kilduff got there first only to see his headed effort hit the crossbar and go wide.
County were dealt a hammer blow as the injured Colin Murray had to make way for Greg Kilkenny after 23 minutes
The first half ended with both sides creating chances in what was an evenly contested half.
Athlone were the better side on the resumption of play and sealed victory with two further goals from substitute Eric Lavine.
Ian Coffey had an early chance for the home side but miskicked from Jason McCartney's left wing cross and Austin O’Neill gathered well.
Veteran striker Lavine was introduced on the hour mark in place of Mernagh and seven minutes later was on the score sheet with a beautiful finish. It has to be said that he was
A free kick deep in their own half was played to Lavine who was given the” Freedom of Athlone Stadium” to steady himself and shoot past O Neill from 20 yards for his first goal of the season.
County could have pulled a goal back when almost immediately Hughes scampered down the wing and his inviting cross just evaded the inrushing Robinson.
Athlone dominated thereafter as Kildare had no response following the second goal.
Ian Coffey was unlucky not to find the net on two occasions but strike partner Lavine was on target again with his second and Athlone's third on 74 minutes.
Joey Maloney's corner kick was not cleared by the County defence and Lavine coolly found the net from the edge of the six yard box.
The winning margin could have been greater as Kildare left large gaps in midfield for Athlone to exploit.
Carmine Russo and Colm Jinks should have punished the visitors before the final whistle but poor finishing let down the home midfield duo.
The one consoling aspect on a poor night for County fans was the performance of Philly Hughes on his second coming in the County jersey.
Athlone Town: Kelly, Rossiter, Reilly, Keady, Sheridan, Russo, Maloney, Jinks, Mernagh (Lavine 59), Coffey, Hamm (McCartney 44).
Kildare County: O'Neill, Slattery (Robinson 60), Mooney, Murray (Kilkenny 23), Brophy, Fortune, Tyrrell, Baba, Hughes, Kilduff, Kavanagh (Morgan 63).
Referee: M Gough (Limerick)
Clip from game on link below: