EA Cup R2
Date: 7:45 p.m. May 5, 2009
Venue: Athlone Town Stadium
Scored: 56'- Graham Rusk 56'
Brendan Place made three changes in personnel to his side that lost 3-2 to Monaghan at the weekend with Stephen Place, David Tyrell and John McGuinness coming in for Damien Rushe, Brian Cleary and Aaron Shanahan respectively.
The first whistle had only been blown six minutes when Athlone had a claim for a penalty waved away by referee Keith Callinan after a coming together of Place and former Athlone player Luke Hardy, with the referee deeming Place had dived before dishing out a yellow card to the striker.
After getting the nod to take his place between the sticks, Athlone ‘keeper John McGuinness was called into early action when Graham Rusk cut in off the left flank to strike, but was denied by the feet of the stopper.
Kieran Reilly then gave away possession cheaply in the middle of the park but once again McGuinness was equal to Rusk’s strike with a smart stop with his legs.
One of Athlone’s best moves of the game came in the 22nd minute when neat interlinking play between Kevin Williamson and Place gave Tyrell the space to shoot but the midfielder dragged his shot wide of the target. Having provided for Tyrell’s effort, Place himself got in on the action moments later but after a Noel McGee assist, he could only find the waiting arms of Billy Brennan in the away goal.
Emeka Onwubiko then had the last chance of the first half but his right footed effort was rising over the bar from the moment it left his boot. Following the break, it took the visitor’s just ten minutes to take the lead. The impressive Keith Ward did well to get to the by line and get his cross in where he found Rusk who side footed the Students ahead from 8 yards.
Onwubiko then had another opportunity for the Lissywollen outfit after Robbie Benson and Place combined well but he drilled his strike just wide of the goal. Then, in an almost carbon copy to his last attempt, Onwubiko flashed the ball just inches wide after cutting off the right flank.
Stephen Place almost got a touch to Benson’s inviting cross then in the 72nd minute but that was to about as close as it got for the home team who come up against the same competition on Saturday evening with three points at stake in the league.
Athlone Town: John McGuinness, Robbie Hamm, Des Hope (Kevin Dunne, 77 mins.), Thomas McGauley, Kevin Williamson (Brian Cleary, 59 mins.), Robbie Benson, Kieran Reilly, Emeka Onwubiko, Noel McGee, Davie Tyrell (Cathal Joyce, 77 mins.), Stephen Place.
UCD: Billy Brennan, Garret Matthews, Ciaran Nangle, Michael Leahy, Luke Hardy, John Dineen, James Timmons, Keith Ward (Gavin Falconer, 90 mins.), Timmy Purcell, Peter McMahon (Chris Mulhall, 75 mins.), Graham Rusk.
Referee: Keith Callinan
Extratime.ie Man of the Match: Keith Ward. The UCD livewire caused problems for Athlone’s back four with his mazy runs. Assist for the goal.