Longford Town 2 – 1 Waterford United
A much more urgent second half showing was not enough to salvage a point for the Blues from their long trek to Flancare Park, after a lacklustre first half performance saw them ship two early, and ultimately decisive, goals.
Adam McSherry had the visitors’ only chance of note in the opening 45, his diving header from Paul Phelan’s cross flying inches over the top on 13 minutes. But by that stage the home side were already in front, Thomas Crawley having fired home from close range four minutes earlier, and they doubled the lead on the half-hour mark, Graham Dowling powering home a header from a Keith Gillespie corner.
It was a revitalised Blues side that emerged after the break, with Gary Dunphy most in the thick of the action. On 63 minutes he forced an acrobatic save from Alvin Rouse with a 20-yard piledriver, but was further from the target from a similar position moments later. Paul Murphy also tested Rouse from distance, before Gary Keane gave the visitors a lifeline with ten minutes left, heading home Paul Walsh’s pin-point cross at the near post. Longford dropped deeper and deeper as time ran out, but the Blues could not fashion any more clear chances, and Gillespie’s second yellow card for sarcastic dissent late on had no material effect on proceedings, as Longford slipped past United up into fifth place.
(photos with thanks to Ian Clancy)
Longford: Alvin Rouse, Graham Dowling, Jeff Flood, Thomas Hyland, Gary Cronin, Cathal Brady, Keith Gillespie, James O’Brien (Daniel Purdy 71), Mark Salmon, Thomas Crawley, Jean Biansumba (Austin Skelly 61) – subs: Sean Skelly, Dara Satelle, Craig Walsh, Alan McGreal, Noel Fallon
Goals: Crawley 9, Dowling 30
Booked: Salmon, Gillespie
Sent Off: Gillespie 93
Blues: Kevin Burns; Paul Carey (Seamus Long 38), David Breen, Kenny Browne, Michael Coady; Paul Walsh, Gary Dunphy, Adam McSherry, Paul Phelan (Dwayne Wilson 86); Willie John Kiely (Gary Keane 72), Paul Murphy – subs: Sean Barron, Brian Nolan, Adam Heaslip, Conor Sinnott
Goal: Keane 80
Referee: Keith Callanan (Cork)