Match Report by Tony Ghee
Longford Town remain third in the First Division table just four points off top after an emphatic 4-0 win away to Athlone Town with goals from Rob Manley, Sam Verdon, Karl Chambers and a Scott Delaney own goal searing three valuable points for Longford.
Athlone had an early chance on five minutes when a poor clearance from Longford keeper Lee Stacey landed at the feet of home striker Dean George twenty-two yards out from goal, but with an empty goal before him, he miscued his shot.
The visitors nearly opened the scoring in the seventh minute when a low crossfield pass from the left from Dean Byrne found Verdon, but his twenty-five yard thunderbolt went just wide of the Athlone post.
Three minutes later, Longford took the lead as Aodh Dervin's superb long pass put in striker Rob Manley, and he kept his composure to fend off the challenge of Athlone centre-half Scott Delaney before poking the ball past keeper Aaron Myles for his sixth goal of the season.
Athlone almost equalised on thirty-two minutes. Ronan Manning whipped in a dangerous free-kick from the left that resulted in Ciaran Grogan's brilliant back-header sailing over Longford keeper Stacey, only to rattle the crossbar.
On the hour mark, Longford almost doubled their lead. Substitute Aaron McNally charged Down the left and delivered a perfectly weighted ball to Byrne, but his close range shot deflected narrowly wide off an Athlone defender.
Longford Town sealed the victory on sixty-eight minutes when former Longford Town underage star Tumelo Tlou sent Byrne sprawling inside the penalty area and up stepped Sam Verdon to send keeper Myles the wrong way for his sixth goal of the campaign.
It got worse for Athlone on seventy-four minutes when substitute striker Lee Duffy was shown a straight red card for an off the ball incident.
Longford scored their third goal on seventy-seven minutes when Athlone centre-back Delaney headed a Byrne cross into his own net. The scoring was completed in stoppage time as substitute Karl Chambers slotted home his first of the season from close range after capitalising on a defensive mix-up to give the visitors a four-nil victory.
Athlone Town (4-4-1-1): Myles, Tlou, Delaney, Grogan, Brookes, Lennon, Dogan, Birrane, Reynolds, Manning, George.
Substitutes: Duffy for Lennon (59 minutes), Carroll for Dogan, White for George (both 75 minutes), O'Connor for Delaney (89 minutes)
Longford Town (4-4-2-1): Stacey, McDonnell, Joe Manley, Hand, Elworthy, Zambra, Dervin, Evans, Verdon, Byrne, Rob Manley
Substitutes: McNally for Evans (48 minutes), Chambers for Byrne (77 minutes), McCabe for Dervin, O'Brien for Verdon, Warfield for Rob Manley (all 82 minutes)
Referee: Eoghan O'Shea
Pictures by Ken Keenan