The Finn Harps U17s lost for the second successive week at home after Declan Boyle’s boys came off second best against an impressive Athlone Town side at the Moss.
Finn Harps U17s 1-3 Athlone Town
The hosts were 2-0 down at the break but a 50th minute goal from skipper Stephen Black should have given the impetus to turn things around.
The home side struggled going forward and the visitors took full advantage converting a penalty on the hour mark which effectively ended the game as a contest.
The Harps 17s were on the back foot early on and fell behind with just four minutes gone. The lively right-sided midfielder Adam Lennon did it all on his own.
Attacking the Main Road end, Lennon was allowed to cut in along the end-line to shoot across Patrick McGarvey into the far corner of the net. At the other end on 10 minutes Conor Black did well to get across in but with keeper Sean O’Toole stranded, there was no home player on hand to find the net, allowing the visitors to clear at the expense of a corner.
Lennon was desperately unlucky not to make 2-0 on 17 minutes with a super strike that cannoned back off the crossbar.
Harps had a chance to equalise on 25 minutes when O’Toole failed to hold a Luke Rudden free-kick but Chris Diver was beaten to the rebound and again the danger was cleared.
The hosts went 2-0 down nine minutes before the break when Ross Molloy bent a 20-yard free-kick around the wall and past McGarvey at his near post.
Just entering injury-time, Harps had a chance to get back a goal back but Stephen Black’s header from his twin brother Conor’s corner went over the bar.
However, the two brothers did combine for the goal that should have given the home side a lifeline, ten minutes into the second half. Following a foul on Rudden, Conor Black’s free-kick, midway inside the Athlone half was met by a first time effort from his brother Stephen, giving O’Toole no chance. Harps really didn’t take advantage of that goal and instead it was the visitors who were more dangerous going forward.
Jack Reynolds was just inches over the bar from a free-kick before the Midlanders pretty much sealed victory. Referee Vincent McLoughlin adjudged that an Athlone player had been pulled back and awarded a penalty which was converted by Seanie Nealon.
Harps did push forward to try and salvage something from the game but the Athlone keeper was not seriously tested at any time in the closing stages.
The closest Boyle’s boys came to getting a goal back was from a Stephen Black header that went narrowly wide from his brother Conor’s free-kick.
Finn Harps U17s: Patrick McGarvey; Conor McDaid, Corey Brolly, Stephen Black, Gavin, McGee; Daniel Gildea, Adam McCafferty, Dylan Woods, Chris Diver, Conor Black; Luke Rudden. Subs: Finnian O’Donnell for Gildea, Fionnan Coyle for McGee, Daryl Porter for Diver, Jamie Doherty for McCafferty.
Referee: Vincent McLoughlin.