Report: Athlone Town 1-2 Rovers

Sligo Rovers travelled to Athlone on Friday night for our first domestic pre-season friendly of 2023.

It was the first chance for Bit O’ Red supporters to watch the team after last weekend’s friendlies over Fleetwood Town and Wigan Athletic were played behind closed doors in England.

Manager John Russell had a squad of 22 players for the game and he would end up using each and every one of them over the course of the 90 minutes.

Rovers threatened throughout the first half with wingers Frank Liivak and Will Fitzgerald causing the home side some problems on either side. Fitzgerald went close with a shot early on but on 22 minutes Rovers were awarded a penalty when Aidan Keena was fouled inside the box.

Keena stepped up and smashed home from 12 yards to give Rovers the lead.

There were a number of changes made at half time and the home side equalised early in the second half with a well taken goal from the edge of the penalty area.

Soon after, youngster Sean McAteer pounced on a defensive error to regain possession, carry the ball into the box and neatly slot home past the Athlone ‘keeper.

John Russell used eleven substitutes in the second half and both sides looked to get the games fourth goal but chances were few and far between from then on in, and Rovers held out for the win.