Match Report by Tony Ghee
Longford Town and Shelbourne played out a one-all draw in an entertaining SSE Airtricity League First Division encounter at the City Calling Stadium with David O’Sullivan and Dylan McGlade both scoring goals against their former clubs as both sides had to settle for a share of the spoils.
Shels dominated the opening half hour creating six good opportunities but the Town eventually worked their way back into the contest in the latter stages of the first half and produced a much better second-half performance.
In the eleventh minute, Evan’s firmly struck twenty-yard shot was palmed away by Town keeper Kelly and just a minute later, Kelly was called into action again as he saved a downward header from English after an excellent cross from Brown.
Two minutes later, another Shellbourne attack resulted in Hughe’s crisp low drive from the edge of the Town box producing another fine save from Kelly.
On eighteen minutes, the visitors created another chance when a sublime diagonal long pass from the left from Kavanagh picked out the unmarked English on the right edge of the box, but he blazed narrowly over the Longford bar.
Two minutes after that, Shels came at the Town defence again with a pin-point Hughes right-wing cross picking out Evans only for his volley to crash into the Town side-netting.
Shels came closest to taking a deserved lead on twenty-three minutes when Fitzgerald’s inswinging right-wing corner was missed by Town keeper Kelly, but he redeemed himself by superbly tipping over Mulcahy’s goalbound effort that seemed destined for the top corner.
After being outplayed for the opening half-hour, the Town suddenly woke up and played much better in the last fifteen minutes in which they created some good opportunities. In the twenty-ninth minute, a looping Noack-Hofmann header took a deflection off Shelbourne defender Prendergast and landed on top of the visitors net.
On thirty-five minutes, an Elworthy cross from the right was headed over by Verdon, but the best Town chance came two minutes later. A brilliant curling right-wing cross from McGlade found Verdon whose effort was blocked, the ball was then threaded into the path of Hollywood by McDonnell, but Hollywood’s strike was brilliantly pushed around the post by Shelbourne keeper Stacey.
The Town almost broke the deadlock two minutes after the resumption when O’Reilly’s shot from a McGlade free-kick was blocked on the line by a Shelbourne defender.
The Dubliners opened the scoring on fifty minutes when Longford Town’s all time record goalscorer, David O’Sullivan, who bagged a hat-trick against his former club in the earlier clash at Tolka Park, struck once again, as he lost his marker and timed his run to perfection to head home Fitzgerald’s corner.
Longford struck back with a sixty-first minute equaliser when a stray pass from English was intercepted by Town winger McGlade and he charged forward before drilling a low shot from just inside the box past Stacey into the Shels net.
De Town missed a glorious chance to take the lead on seventy-seven minutes when McGlade trickery on the left bamboozled two Shels defenders and his cross picked out the unmarked Verdon at the back post, but somehow, Verdon headed wide when it seemed easier to score.
A chipped cross from Town defender Noack-Hofmann a minute later almost ended up in the net, but the back-peddling Stacey managed to tip the ball over the bar.
The home side had a very lucky escape on eighty-six minutes when substitute Rooney crashed a shot off the underside of the Longford crossbar with the ball bouncing narrowly over inrushing striker O’Sullivan, but at the other end, the impressive McGlade almost won it for Longford in the last minute of normal time, however, Stacey produced a sharp save to keep his goal intact.
Next up for Neale Fenn’s charges is a Midlands Derby clash away to Athlone Town next Friday.
Longford Town: Kelly, Elworthy, McDonnell, O’Reilly, Noack-Hofmann, Hopkins, Hollywood, Dervin, McGlade, Verdon, Mulhall.
Substitutes: Meenan for Hollywood (62 minutes), Galvin for Hopkins (62 minutes), Byrne for Mulhall (90 minutes).
Shelbourne: Stacey, Brown, Mulcahy, Prendergast, Fitzgerald, English, Byrne, Hughes, Evans, Kavanagh, O’Sullivan.
Substitutes: Rooney for Kavanagh (67 minutes), Boyne for Hughes (85 minutes).