Treaty United claimed their first win in 9 attempts when they defeated basement club Athlone Town 2-1 at the Markets Field last night. Early first half goals from Dean George and Jack Lynch gave Treaty a commanding lead but Thomas Oluwa managed to pull one back for the visitors and it was a nervy evening from that point forward with both sides creating a host of chances.
Before the game, Treaty were handed two big injury boosts as Willie Armshaw and Enda Curran were named on the substitutes bench following a prolonged absence through injury. With Mark Walsh being ruled out through injury, the return of Sean Guerins to partner Joe Gorman was timely while Jack Lynch continued at right-back in a 4-3-3 formation for Treaty with Conor Melody supporting Dean George. The biggest surprise was the inclusion of Conor Winn in goals in place of Jack Brady who has been ever present this season.
Tommy Barrett’s side made a positive start to the game with Athlone forced to clear dangerous early free kicks from Marc Ludden and Steven Christopher. It was a set-piece that provided the home side with their first goal as one of Ludden’s signature long throw-ins was expertly glanced into the far corner by Dean George for his sixth league goal of the campaign.
Just three minutes later, captain Jack Lynch scored an audacious effort from just inside the opposition half. As Treaty were awarded a free-kick, Lynch spotted that goalkeeper Andrew Skerritt was off his line and lobbed the goalkeeper to send the players, management and crowd wild. Lynch had this to say about the goal; “Oh I definitely meant it. I have to give Tommy a bit of credit as I threw the ball down, I was asking was Steven Christopher on. He told me the keeper was off his line and when I heard that I said I’d give it a go.”
It was a brilliant for Treaty and it could have got even better as the hard working George dispossessed Noah Van Geen on the end line and drove goalwards but was denied by the legs of Skerritt. Treaty would almost regret not getting a third goal as the game wore on. Ludden almost got on the scoresheet as his driving effort hit the crossbar after a brilliant pass infield from Christopher.
Just a minute later, the visitors equalised when there was a mix up at the back between Winn, Guerins and Gorman which allowed Oluwa to nip in and finish into an empty net for Dermot Lennon’s side. However, it was still the home side in the ascendancy and should have increased their lead when Melody was played through on the left flank but his curling effort was saved by Skerritt and Coustrain’s follow up was blocked by Habing. Moments later, Noah Van Geen missed a routine headed clearance which was read by Dean George who lobbed Skerritt but it went over the crossbar.
As we awaited the half-time whistle, Treaty were given a huge warning when a ball over the top was once again not dealt with by Winn who appeared to bein control but lost possession to a tenacious Oluwa but the striker lost his composure and fired wide with an empty net awaiting him. Athlone made a very strong start to the second half with Oluwa forcing two saves from Winn and the Midlanders looked increasingly likely to grab a second goal.
Treaty introduced both Curran and Armshaw on the hour mark and the former in particular looked dangerous, having two early sighters at goal with both being off target. With 15 minutes remaining, Athlone thought they had equalised as Shane Barnes controlled the ball on the edge of the area before volleying off the crossbar with the ball bouncing onto the line before Winn grabbed it to safety.
With five minutes remaining, Curran thought he had grabbed a goal on his comeback when he powerfully headed home from a Christopher corner but referee Declan Toland ruled it out for a foul. In the dying moments, the visitors had two big chances to equalise when substitute Success Edogun drove at the Treaty defence but Gorman blocked his shot before Van Geen headed wide from the resulting corner.
There was a huge sense of relief at the final whistle as Treaty managed to maintain their three point lead in the play-off race. Treaty will now turn their attentions to the clash with Galway at Eamonn Deacy Park next Friday night. In other news, there are unconfirmed reports that Kieran Hanlon has left the club. Thre striker scored 5 goals last season during the play-off run and was a mainstay in the team but injury troubles this season has seen his game time limited.
Treaty United: Conor Winn, Jack Lynch (Colin Conroy 88), Sean Guerins, Joe Gorman, Marc Ludden, Callum McNamara, Lee Devitt, Steven Christopher, Conor Melody (Enda Curran 57), Joel Coustrain (Willie Armshaw 57), Dean George (Matt Keane 78)
Athlone Town: Andrew Skerritt, Oisin Duffy, Donal Curtin, Noah Van Geen, Youri Habing, Aaron Connolly, Cian Kelly, Gary Armstrong (Blake Ryan 86), Daniel Dobbin (Irhue 86), Thomas Oluwa, Shane Barnes(Success Edogun78)