Athlone Town made it four wins in a row and closed the gap on league leaders Longford Town to just one point after securing a very comfortable 2-0 against Wexford Youths tonight in Ferrycarrig.
Athlone travelled with only 14 players after they learned late in the afternoon that the registrations of Sean Byrne and loan signing Garbhan Coughlan would not be completed before the deadline.
Aidan Collins failed in his efforts to make the squad with a knee injury so Conor McMahon was added to the back line while Ian Sweeney made a surprise return and took his spot on the bench.
It was Athlone who started the brightest and on 9 mins they had their first chance of the game when Philly Gorman headed just wide of the Wexford goal from a Roddy Collins cross.
Ten minutes later another great chance fell to Gorman again from a Roddy Collins cross but Graham Doyle in the Wexford net saved well.
On 24 minutes Philly Gorman looked to have been impeded in the area as he went to ground but referee Keith Callinan waved play on and Barry Clancys resulting shot went over the bar.
Just on the stroke of half time another chance came Athlones way when it was Roddy Collins who put in an excellent cross that picked out the smallest player on the field in Barry Clancy but his header went into the side netting.
The introduction of Ian Sweeney who replaced Lanigan just after half time brought a real sense of belief and urgency to the Athlone play and on 53 minutes he got on the end of a Conor McMahon’s long ball forward getting a shot in on Doyle after a swift turn but the keeper gathered.
Two minutes later it was Ian Sweeney again when he picked up a pass from Clancy and let rip from 25 yards only for Doyle to make a superb save tipping the ball over.
On 61 minutes Athlone thought they had made a breakthrough when Ian Sweeney found Hughes who found Gorman with a superb pass and and he tucked the ball home but the flag was up for offside.
Four minutes later Athlone got what they deserved when James O’Brien hit a shot from 20 yards out that left Doyle grasping for air as the ball nestled home.
On 71 minutes Wexford almost got the equaliser when Clarke played the ball to Nolan and his shot was well tipped wide and from the resulting corner Athlone broke and Ian Sweeney on his return planted the ball home off the inside of the post making the game safe much to the delight of the travelling fans.
On 80 minutes Philly Gorman almost made it three when skillfully passed two Wexford defenders but his shot across goal went narrowly wide of the far post.
On 83 minutes a Dermody volley was well saved down low by Skinner and with the last seven minutes being played out it was Athlone who took all three points and made it four wins on the trot a feat not achieved by the club since 2000/01.
Next up for Athlone is a friendly game this Tuesday 9th July against Port Vale before a home fixture next Friday night when they take on Cobh Ramblers. Kick off in Athlone Town Stadium for both games is scheduled for 7.45pm.