Report: Rovers Women 1-3 Athlone Town

Athlone Town took the Women’s Premier Division points home from the Showgrounds this evening with a 3-1 victory against hosts Sligo Rovers, writes Conall Collier

The defeat leaves the Bit O’Red still searching for a first win of the season as Athlone moved up the table with a third victory in-a-row.

Fiona Doherty and Jodie Loughrey were both handed starting roles by Sligo Rovers manager Steve Feeney after appearing from the bench last weekend against Galway.

Athlone Town manager Tommy Hewitt made a couple of changes from the previous week’s victory with Nausica Costantini and Lucy Jayne Grant coming into the starting 11.

Athlone had a lot of early possession and forced a number of corners that were well dealt with by the home defence while ‘keeper Bonnie McKiernan also handled confidently on her second start for the Bit O’Red.

McKiernan advanced smartly to avert danger from an Athlone Town breakaway in the 21st minute and soon after finger-tipped a speculative Roisin Molloy effort around the post.

At the other end, Emma Doherty had a glimpse of goal, but Athlone recovered smartly to clear the danger.

Athlone maintained the pressure and McKiernan saved again, but in the 35th minute the Westmeath side made the breakthrough when Madison Gibson got on to a long ball from Nausica Costantini, and finished well.

Athlone remained in the ascendancy early in the second-half and Jodie Loughrey cleared off the line for the Bit O’Red in the 51st minute.

The Sligo Rovers players knuckled down to the task and posed a few questions for the Athlone defence with Casey Howe going close to the hour mark, but the ball shaved the outside of the post.

With 17 minutes remaining Roisin Molloy gave Athlone a 2-0 advantage when she found the net from over 30 metres and soon after Gillian Keenan made it 3-0 for Athlone.

The hosts kept battling and Casey Howe found the back of the Athlone net with a fine long-range effort in the 83rd minute. Then, Kerri Loughrey tested the quality of the woodwork close to full-time as the Bit O’Red went in search of a second goal, but Athlone prevailed.

Sligo Rovers – Bonnie McKiernan; Katie Nugent, Keela Scanlon, Amy Roddy, Leah Kelly, Emma Hansberry, Lauren Boles, Casey Howe, Fiona Doherty, Jodie Loughrey, Emma Doherty. 

Subs – Keri Loughrey for F Doherty 70 mins, Sarah Kiernan for Nugent 71m, Aoife Brennan for Boles and Ciara Henry for J Loughrey 86m

Athlone Town – Nyla Peterkin; Nausica Costantini, Kayleigh Shine, Chloe Singleton, Kellie Brennan, Laurie Ryan, Scarlett Herron, Roisin Molloy, Lucy Jayne Grant, Madison Gibson, Julia Weithofer. 

Sub – Dana Scheriff for Grant 54 mins.