Athlone Town 2 Cobh Ramblers 1
AFTER taking the lead, Cobh Ramblers slipped to defeat at the hands of Athlone Town on Friday night.
Remarkably, because of results in the division elsewhere, Cobh are still just three points off the promotion playoff places.
Galway United, now managed by John Caulfield with Liam Kearney in the set-up, have won four games in a row in their bid to grab a position and we could yet see them face relegation-threatened Cork City in a bid to reach the Premier Division.
Next up for Ramblers is a home league clash against Bray Wanderers, on Monday night at St Colman’s Park, at 7.45pm.
After this slip-up, this will be a must-win for Cobh realistically if they are to have any chance at this stage of reaching the playoffs.
Stuart Ashton’s side came into this clash determined to make amends after suffering a heavy defeat at the hands of UCD last weekend.
Ramblers had Kevin Taylor back in the starting 11 for the clash in the Midlands, who came into the team in place of the suspended John Kavanagh.
Greg Henry captained the Ramblers for the very first time, while the returning from injury Pierce Phillips and Darragh Crowley were among the substitutes.
Athlone, who are in the FAI Cup quarter-finals, had a great opportunity to hit the front just past the quarter of an hour mark, with the best chance of the opening 45 minutes of action.
A brilliant cross was whipped in by on loan Dundalk man Taner Dogan, which was met by the head of Dean George.
But Ramblers keeper Sean Barron was on hand to make a great save as he tipped the ball over, as it was the home side who had the better of the chances and most of the possession by the mid-way stage of the first half.
Neither side was able to find the breakthrough during the first half and they were to go in level at the break.
Athlone threatened early in the second half when George made a great interception deep in the Cobh half, but he blasted his shot over the bar.
But on the hour mark, it was Ramblers who were the side who went into the lead. From a corner kick, it was Ben O’Riordan that was on hand to apply the finish to the back of the net.
However, their advantage was to last only a mere seconds, as Athlone almost immediately went up the other end to equalise. Jack Reynolds the scorer and the man who put the ball into the net for the home side.
Pierce Phillips almost put Cobh back in front, when his low shot from outside the box came back off the post.
But Athlone went into the lead after 83 minutes from the penalty spot through Ronan Manning.
Cobh Ramblers: Sean Barron; Kevin Taylor, Charlie Lyons, Ben O’Riordan, Lee Devitt, Greg Henry, David Hurley, Martin Coughlan, Ian Turner, Conor Drinan, Naythan Coleman.
Subs: Gavin Ryan, Stephen O’Leary, Darryl Walsh, Pierce Phillips, Jack Leonard, Christopher O’Reilly.
Referee: Marc Lynch.