Gareth Cloono reports from Lissywollen
Without a win their last 14 games, Athlone were looking to quench their thirst on the back of two draws and they did exactly that as they edged out Wexford 3-1 in Lissywollen.
Patrick Kelly, Evan Pierce and Dean George were on target for Terry Butler’s side against a stubborn Wexford side who equalised early in the second half through Sean Roche.
Athlone hit the front inside five mins when a set-piece delivery found the head of Kelly at the back post and he found the net to make it 1-0.
The game went flat for the good part of the first half, with only set pieces and miscued shots for either team for the rest of the first 45 minutes.
The second half started well for Wexford as, nine minutes in, Roche beat Aaron Myles in the Athlone goal with a sublime finish to level up the tie.
Referee Paula Brady called a one-minute halt to the game when players from both sides got into an altercation. A drop ball was the resulting decision.
Athlone regained the lead 20 minutes from time it was Pierce who did the damage from another set piece and header in the centre of the box that went over the hands of Wexford’s Corey Chambers.
Wexford had a few chances of their own, including one chance that just went slightly over the crossbar, but the equaliser wouldn’t come.
Former Wexford player George added the third goal at the death following a fumble by goalkeeper Corey Chambers, as the ball was kept in play for George to turn it home.
“Darren Meenan played well and it was a great performance. For us with the chances we had it should have been more than three,” said Butler.
Athlone Town: Aaron Myles; John Morgan, Dean Casey, Aaron Brilly; Darren Meenan, Josh Hogan, Jamie Hamilton, Ciaran Grogan, Shane Dunne; Evan Pierce (Dean George 87), Kealan Dillon (Rhys Gorman 80).
Subs not used: Gargar Ta-Uway (gk), Eoghan Morgan, Callum McKelvey, Byron Martin.
Wexford: Corey Chambers; Conor Sutton, Darragh O'Connor, Lee Costello; Andrew O'Connor, Ricky Fox, Thomas Croke (John Peare 80), Paddy Cahill, Nika Arevadze (Ryan Nolan 46); Sean Roche, Danny Doyle (Dave Corish 82).
Subs not used: Jason McGuire (gk), Andrew Farrell.
Referee: Paula Brady.
Attendance: 70 (estimate).
Extratime.ie Player of the Match: Darren Meenan (Athlone Town).