Date: 8 p.m. Oct. 16, 2009
Venue: Tolka Park
Shelbourne started nervously, with Athlone appearing to score in the opening minutes. Anthony Hayes’ effort from thirty yards bends over Dean Delaney and cannoned back off the bar. Ex-red Franco Georgescu was free in the box to head in the rebound but he was flagged offside.
From then on, however, it was all Shelbourne. It took ten minutes for them to fashion their first good chance though. Good work down the left saw Ritchie Baker nod the ball back for David Cassidy, whose effort was saved.
A couple of minutes later and Michael Synott should have scored. Baker’s cross was fumbled by Barry Andrews and partially cleared before Synnott played a one two through the middle of the Athlone defence, only to see his shot excellently saved.
A quick counter attack on twenty minutes resulted in McAllister’s left foot shot bending just wide. Tony Griffiths’ fine through ball had found David McGill to set up McAllister.
A few minutes later and David Cassidy’s quick thinking tricked the Athlone defence. Synnott’s free seemed harmless but Cassidy stretched out and toe-poked it passed Andrews, only for Kevin Dunne to clear off the line.
Wave after wave of red attack continued, with good chances for McAllister, Cassidy and Griffiths all going very close before the break.
Shels continued in that fashion in the second half. Alan Keely’s near post header from Baker’s corner was glanced narrowly wide of the far post.
David Cassidy was next to miss as he headed Mark O’Brien’s cross just wide. O’Brien himself then volleyed just wide from outside the box as the hour mark came and went.
Then, in the sixty eighth minute, came Shelbourne’s best chance. Robbie Hedderman advanced into the area only to be fouled by Robbie Hamm in front of the ref. Easy decision, Shelbourne penalty. But David McAllister, Shelbourne’s player of the season so far, put it over the bar.
Shelbourne’s heads didn’t drop too much as they continued to press. David Cassidy’s cross from the right was just behind the red shirts in the area with fifteen minutes to go. Five minutes later and a high ball was controlled incredibly well by Cassidy as he flicked the ball behind the defence and into Derek Doyle’s path. The big man couldn’t beat Barry Andrews however, who made a great save for every fumbled cross it seems.
With injury time approaching, Derek Doyle whipped in a fine corner. McAllister met it at the penalty spot but his header glanced wide of the far post. With time running out, Doyle then sent in a free from the right but it was just too high for anyone to reach it.
Four minutes injury time gave the home side a chance but in the end a completely stunted performance from Athlone, who had been spanked last week by six goals against Finn Harps, was enough to manage a draw. Somehow.
extratime.ie man of the match: Ritchie Baker - Excellent
Shelbourne: Delaney, Synnott, Hedderman, Keely (Crawley 70), Brennan, O’Brien, McGill, Cassidy, Griffiths (Doyle 58), McAllister, Baker (C O’Brien 64). Subs not used: Quigley, Whelan
Athlone Town: Andrews, N O’Reilly (Hamm 45), O’Connor, Hayes, Hope, Dunne, Georgescu, Salmon, Horan, Skelly (Benson 29), O’Halloran (Williamson 77) Subs not used: Hardy, A O’Reilly