League Report: Galway United 3 - 1 Athlone Town

Stephen Walsh in action for Galway United.

Stephen Walsh in action for Galway United. Credit: Liam Coughlan (ETPhotos)

Paul Corcoran reports from Eamonn Deacy Park

Galway United extended their winning run to four games on Friday night when they ran out 3-1 winners over Athlone Town at Eamonn Deacy Park.

David Hurley opened the scoring in the first half with Stephen Walsh adding a goal in the second half.

Frantz Pierrot scored from the penalty spot to give the visitors a foothold in the game midway through the second half but Killian Brouder scored for the home side to confirm the three points.

John Caulfield made just one change from their 3-0 win over Treaty Untied last weekend with Stephen Walsh returning from suspension and Rob Manley dropping to the bench.

Athlone Town drew 2-2 with Cobh Ramblers last week and they made no changes coming into Friday night’s game.

United were nearly in front in the third minute after a floated cross from the right by Conor O’Keeffe – the ball found Maurice Nugent deep in a crowded box and his header drew a fingertip save from Vladi Velikin in the Athlone goal.

Veliken whipped the ball off the hairs of Nugent in the eighth minute when David Hurley drilled a corner kick across goal, the Galway defender very nearly turned the ball into the net only for the goalkeeper’s good command of his area.

The home side were in front in the twelfth minute – Francely Lomboto was brought down in the box after some great link up play with Stephen Walsh on the left. Hurley stepped up to convert just squeezing the ball under Velikin in the left corner.

Athlone were in on goal in the 18th minute, the visitors broke away with Jamar Campion-Hinds passing the ball out to the right wing into the path of Haji Abdikadir, the played it into Frantz Pierrot who swung at the ball but nudged it inches wide of the post.

Ed McCarthy found Walsh’s feet in the 39th minute and the striker did well to control the ball and turn in the box before firing off a shot with the ball whizzing by the post.

Vincent Border drew a save in the 40th minute when a breaking ball came down to the midfielder in the Athlone box, the American teed up a volley and blasted the ball at goal with Velikin denying the Tribesmen.

United should have doubled their lead just before half time when McCarthy drilled a cross into the box and found Walsh’s head, he headed it down beating the ‘keeper but the ball came back up and nicked the crossbar and came out.

It took the Tribesmen six minutes from the re-start to double their lead, Borden had a header cleared off the line from a Hurley corner kick, the ball eventually came back into the path of Walsh who blasted a shot into the crowded box and found the back of the net.

The visitors went close in the 55th minute when they went on the attach, substitute Adam Lennon flicked a ball into the far post with Patrick Hickey arriving to meet it with his head. He couldn’t keep the ball down and it fizzed over the crossbar.

Athlone pulled a goal back in the 65th minute when referee Gavin Colfer saw a pull in the box by Maurice Nugent on Pierrot as the striker turned in the box. Pierrot stepped up to take it and the striker slotted the ball into the bottom right corner for his 13th of the season.

Galway United restored their two goal lead in the 71st minute when Nugent got a flick on a Hurley free-kick, the ball was very nearly cleared off the line but Killian Brouder followed it in and fired the ball over the line.

Athlone Town failed to trouble the home side any further with the Tribesmen going 13 points clear at the top of the First Division table with Waterford set to play Longford Town on Saturday night.

Galway United: Brendan Clarke; Killian Brouder, Maurice Nugent, Conor O'Keeffe, Oisin O'Reilly (Evan O'Connor 72); Vincent Borden (Mikie Rowe 85), David Hurley (Ibrahim Keita 85), Francely Lomboto (Darren Clarke 72), Edward McCarthy, Conor McCormack (Rob Slevin 67); Stephen Walsh.

Subs not used: Alex Rutter, Colm Horgan, Steven Healy, Rob Manley.

Booked: None.

Athlone Town: Vladislav Velikin; Haji Abdikadir, German Rodriguez, Noah van Geenan, Nazar Zubkov (Donal Curtin 46); Jamar Campion-Hinds, Aaron Connolly (Charles Mutawe 81), Valerij Dolia (Adam Lennon 46), Patrick Hickey, Matthew Leal (Josh McGlone 46); Frantz Pierrot (Matthew Baker 80).

Subs not used: Enda Minogue, Blake Ryan, Aaron McBride, Oisin Duffy.

Booked: Patrick Hickey (12), Matthew Leal (32), Donal Curtin (70), Charles Mutawe (87).

Referee: Gavin Colfer.

Attendance: 1,500 (estimate)

extratime.com Player of the Match: Stephen Walsh (Galway United)