Sligo Rovers continued their excellent run of recent form when they travelled to Athlone Town and secured a 2-0 victory against the beleaguered Midlanders thanks to goals in each half from Danny Ledwith and Danny North.
Athlone were more than a match for the visitors in the first half but they were far less clinical, as Philip Gorman was denied by Gary Rogers on two clear occasions while Rovers’ best chance was immaculately headed home by Ledwith after 31 minutes.
North added a second with eleven minutes to go and while Athlone continued to press and had a string of chances from close range free kicks, they never looked like beating the in-form Rogers in the Sligo goal.
Athlone have now recorded twelve defeats in thirteen starts this year with narrow defeats as a constant them and yet again they can feel more than a little hard done by that they failed to pick up at least a point.
Twice in the first half Philip Gorman was one-on-one against Gary Rogers and while the striker’s first effort was shot straight at the custodian’s feet, the second brought a fantastic full length save from him.
Athlone also had a clear shout for a penalty in that half when Jason Marks and Graham Rusk combined to put Gorman in on the right hand side of the penalty area and it looked s if the striker was pushed in the back by Kalen Spillane. However referee Robert Rogers saw it differently and he waved play on, much to the chagrin of the home supporters.
Rovers looked to do the majority of their attacking down the flanks and they had plenty of joy on both wings with John Russell and Danny Ledwith in very strong form.
Seamus Conneely also got forward well and sent several very testing deliveries into the Athlone penalty area but it was a pinpoint cross from Russell that allowed Sligo to make their breakthrough in the 31st minute.
The winger sent a pacey out-swinging cross past the head of Alan Byrne at the near post and with Rovers men queuing up to meet the ball it was Danny Ledwith who decisively headed the ball into the bottom right corner.
A dull second half where Rovers played a lot of possession football only sprung to life when Kalen Spillane rattled the Athlone crossbar with a stunning thirty-yard strike with twenty minutes to play.
Nine minutes later the Bit’o’Red made sure of the points with a close range effort from Danny North, after he’d been played in by substitute Eric Odhiambo, who really livened up the Rovers attack after his introduction.
Athlone continued to press hard and they hit the target several times in the closing stages, most notably when Seán Brennan struck a free from the edge of the area that was parried by Rogers, but they never looked like beating the in-form goalkeeper.
Athlone Town: Paul Skinner; Stephen Quigley, Derek Prendergast, Alan Byrne, Sean Byrne; Jason Marks, Kealon Dillon, James O’Brien (Mark Hughes HT), Barry Clancy (Ian Sweeney 62); Graham Rusk, Philip Gorman (Sean Brennan 55).
Subs not used: Conor McMahon, Neil Harney, Declan Brennan, Craig Sexton (GK)
Sligo Rovers: Gary Rogers; Seamus Conneely, Jeff Henderson, Kalen Spillane, Ross Gaynor; John Russell (Sean Maguire 82), Paul O’Conor, David Cawley, Danny Ledwith; Aaron Greene (Eric Odhiambo 69), Danny North.
Subs not used: Jordan Loftus, Regan Donelon, Evan McMillan, Richard Brush (GK).
Referee: Robert Rogers