Athlone Town 3
Bray Wanderers 1
Bray’s five-match unbeaten run in the SSE Airtricity League First Division came to an end on Monday evening away to Athlone.
With just a point separating the clubs before kick-off, two second half goals saw the ‘Town take all three points. And move ahead of Wanderers into third place in the table.
After trailing 1-0 at the break at the Athlone Town Stadium, a triple half time changed had given the visitors new impetus.
But ten minutes into the second period, the hosts doubled their lead.
Frantz Pierrot chased a through ball. But the on-rushing goalkeeper Alex Moody raced out to head clear. The ball dropped to Adam Lennon 40-yards out with his high and hanging half volley dropping just under the bar of the open goal.
It got even better in the 70th minute. Patrick Hickey’s surging run into the penalty area saw him cut the ball back for Jamar Campion Hinds to side-foot in from close range.
The Wicklow side grabbed a consolation four minutes in stoppage time.
Conor Crowley’s free kick rebounded the box off the knees of Noah van Geenen before Chris Lyons lashed in low from eight-yards for his third goal of the season.
Following their Midlanders derby win over Longford Town at the same venue last Friday, the Westmeath outfit made one change to their line-up, In came ex-Bray goalkeeper Enda Minogue for the suspended Vladi Velikin.
From the side who’d drawn 1-1 with leaders Galway United four days previous, the Seagulls made five changes.
Defenders Dane Massey and Cole Omorehiomwan were joined by midfielders Harry Groome and Joe Power while Conor Davis was restored to the attack.
On the bench, Jake Walker made a welcome return after an injury lay-off.
The ‘Town had the better of the opening period proceedings.
Matthew Leal went close in in the tenth and 20 minutes with efforts that went wide of the target.
Then in the 35th minute, Jamar Campion-Hinds’ free dropped to Frantz Pierrot. But close in the striker dragged his low attempt wide.
But in the 43rd minute, the home team broke the dead-lock, although there was a strong hint of fortune about it.
Wide left, Aaron Connolly’s free was cleared back to him. The midfielder’s cross-shot that dropped past Moody and into the far corner of the net.
Athlone Town: Enda Minogue; Oisin Duffy, German Fuentes Rodriguez, Noah van Geenen, Haji Abdikadir (Jack Kavanagh 89); Patrick Hickey (Josh McGlone 89): Aaron Connolly, Matthew Leal (Charles Mutawe 66); Adam Lennon (Isaie Louis 82), Jamar Campion-Hinds; Frantz Pierrot (Matthew Baker 89).
Subs not used: Blake Ryan, Aaron McBride, Nazar Zubkov, Charlie Raper.
Booked: van Geenen 52.
Bray Wanderers: Alex Moody; Max Murphy, Cole Omorehiomwan (Jack Hudson 77), Dane Massey, Len O’Sullivan (Dave Webster half time); Harry Groome, Conor Crowley; Conor Davis (Jake Walker 76), Joe Power (Darren Craven half time|), Callum Thompson; Ben Feeney (Chris Lyons half time).
Subs not used: Luka Lovic, Conor Knight, Zach Donohue, Stephen McGuinness.
Booked: O’Sullivan 34, Massey 42.
Referee: Kevin O’Sullivan (Cork).
Pictures: Peter Minogue.