Athlone Town 2 Cork City 2
CORK City are now five games without a win at the beginning of the new Women’s National League season as they were held to a 2-2 draw by Athlone Town on Saturday evening.
Goals from Becky Cassin and Christina Dring had twice given City the lead but an Emma Donoghue penalty and a close-range finish from Melissa O’Kane - both following questionable decisions from the referee - earned Athlone a share of the spoils.
In the aftermath of the defeat to DLR Waves last weekend, Becky Cassin spoke toinsisting her side would do all they could to try and bounce back with a win in Westmeath. And the captain led by example as she headed City in front inside the opening minutes here.
Eabha O’Mahony’s superb corner picked out her central midfield partner inside the penalty area and Cassin made no mistake, stooping low and planting her header past the goalkeeper for her second goal of the season.
Town recovered well from that setback but it wasn’t until the 17th minute that they finally had a sight at goal.
Emma Donoghue decided to try her luck direct from a free-kick to the right of the penalty area and after her powerful strike was parried by City shotstopper Abby McCarthy, her defenders cleared the danger.
The Leesiders had strong appeals for a penalty waved away midway through the first period after Christina Dring went down inside the box.
The striker would have their best chance of doubling their lead before halftime but her header from O’Mahony’s cross was straight at the keeper.
Katelyn Keogh was introduced to the action on the half-hour mark and she soon squandered two glorious opportunities to level the scores.
O’Mahony was pressed on both occasions and forced into relinquishing possession and she was a little fortunate that Keogh fired her attempts over the bar from great positions.
City’s luck ran out shortly before the interval though as the referee awarded Athlone a dubious penalty for a foul from Lauren Singleton on her opposing forward.
Emma Donoghue took responsibility for the spot-kick and coolly rolled the ball into the bottom right corner of the net to ensure her side were level at the break, 1-1.
She almost completed the turnaround moments after the restart but her sensational free-kick was denied by a combination of the outstretched Abby McCarthy and her crossbar.
That sparked the visitors into life and minutes after Cassin drilled a shot wide of the near post, they retook the lead through Christina Dring.
Laura Shine cleverly helped on a hopeful long pass and Dring used her pace to race clear of her opponent, allowing the number nine to expertly slot the ball into the bottom left corner for her first goal of the campaign.
Town continued to battle and they almost equalised again on 70 but McCarthy did well to turn Melissa O’Kane’s indirect free from inside the area onto the woodwork after the netminder had picked up a back pass.
But Athlone wouldn’t be denied as they snatched a point late on after McCarthy spilled Donoghue’s long set-piece and O’Kane pounced on the loose ball to tap home from a few yards.
Abbiegayle Ronayle, Emma Donoghue, Leahy Brady, Kayleigh Shine, Kayla Brady, Kellie Brennan, Laurie Ryan, Roisin Molloy, Aoife Haran, Emily Corbet, Melissa O’Kane.
Katelyn Keogh for Kayleigh Shine (30), Kelsey Munroe for Emily Corbet (73), Roisin Jacob for Laurie Ryan (81).
Abby McCarthy, Lauren Walsh, Ciara McNamara, Danielle Burke, Lauren Singleton, Becky Cassin, Eabha O’Mahony, Lauren Egbuloniu, Eva Mangan, Laura Shine, Christina Dring.
Katie McCarthy for Eva Mangan (70).