Limerick made it two SSE Airtricity League Premier Division wins in a row as they defeated pointless Athlone Town 2-1 at Thomond Park.

Goals were traded during an interesting opening period as underdogs Athlone were proving to be gritty opponents for the Blues.

Robbie Williams headed Limerick ahead in the 20th minute, but five minutes before the break Kealan Dillon levelled.

Eight minutes after the restart, substitute Tam McManus swept in Limerick's winner  and although Athlone had keeper Paul Skinner dismissed after 78 minutes, Shane Tracy missed the resultant penalty.

Limerick started the brighter with Shane Tracy anchoring the midfield, and Stuart Taylor's side appeared keen to exploit Athlone's low confidence levels.

Eager to move the ball forward quickly, Limerick threatened from Tracy set pieces, but despite being under pressure, Athlone also had opportunities.

Limerick keeper Barry Ryan got down well to thwart James O'Brien and Sean Byrne during a decent first quarter.

In the 16th minute, Limerick's Jason Hughes was denied by a Skinner save as the Blues sought to land a blow.

And that is precisely what they did in the 20th minute as another sweet Tracy free-kick caused panic in the Athlone area and Williams took maximum advantage with a clever glancing header.

Williams fizzed a long-range effort wide after 31 minutes, but then Athlone pounced for a surprise equaliser in the 41st minute, courtesy of Dillon's brave finish.

Despite the concession Limerick recovered and eight minutes after the restart Taylor's side scored again.

Substitute McManus provided a crisp left-footed finish from an acute angle as Limerick regained the initiative.

But there was some controversy 12 minutes from time when Athlone were aggrieved at the dismissal of Skinner for a foul on replacement Ross Mann.

Tracy's subsequent penalty was saved by Sean Brennan, normally a midfielder, during a bizarre incident, but Limerick held out.

Limerick: Barry Ryan; Shaun Kelly, Samuel Oji, Stephen Folan, Robbie Williams; Shane Tracy; Prince Agyemang (Ross Mann, 66), Shane Duggan, Jason Hughes; Craig Curran (Tam McManus, 39), Rory Gaffney.
Subs not used: Shane Cusack, Patrick Nzuzi, Darragh Rainsford, Colm Murphy, Tony Whitehead.

Athlone Town: Paul Skinner; Conor McMahon, Alan Byrne, Derek Prendergast, Barry Clancy (Sean Brennan, 78); Kealan Dillon (Jason Marks, 87), Sean Byrne, Mark Hughes, James O’Brien, Graham Rusk (Ian Sweeney, 90); Philly Gorman.
Subs not used: Declan Brennan, Craig Sexton, Neil Harney, Niall Scullion.

Referee: Anthony Buttimer (Cork).