SSE Airtricity League First Division
Finn Harps 2-4 Longford Town
Monday 4th June 2018
City Calling Stadium / 5.00pm
Match Report by James Donnelly
Longford Town rolled into Ballybofey yesterday evening high on momentum from the previous Friday’s brilliant win over Galway United at home. A trip up to Donegal only 3 days later seemed like a daunting task but De Town came away 4-2 winners in Finn Park in what was a physical, back and forth encounter.
Longford applied pressure on the northerners from the get go and there wasn’t more than 5 minutes on the clock when local star Aodh Dervin volleyed home from a Sam Verdon headed pass to put De Town 1-0 up. Dervin’s second goal in as many games for the club.
From then on, it was all Finn Harps. Ollie Horgan’s men began to hold possession and attack the Longford Town defence, Ciaran O’Connor going close from distance on 11 minutes, and Jesse Devers being denied by the finger tips of Town keeper Michael Kelly only a few moments later.
Sam Verdon could have put Longford 2-0 up on 14 minutes when a good solo run from the midfield saw the Dublin man’s shot hit the post of Ciaran Gallagher’s goal and bounce back out. A let off for the Donegal team.
Dylan McGlade got Longford’s second on the half hour mark when a beautifully placed pass from Dean Byrne found the pacy winger who easily slipped it past Gallagher in goal to put Longford in control.
Finn Harps had calls for a penalty waved away not too long after when Devers went down from what appeared to be an ok challenge from Dervin but Eoghan O’Shea immediately signalled no peno, much to the delight of the Longford Town travelling support and the dismay of Ollie Horgan.
The home side came out all guns blazing in the second half and it wasn’t long before they got their first goal back in the game. A challenge from Town defender Daniel O’Reilly resulted in a penalty for Finn Harps which Paddy McCourt duly put away with ease to get them back into the game. Only 4 minutes later, Harps got their equaliser when a through ball to Mikey Place saw him slip in behind the Town defence to slot it past Kelly to make it 2-2.
But Longford were having none of it. De Town marched straight back up the pitch from tip off and won a corner. The resulting cross was hit across the box to Dean Byrne who swung it back in to the head of Sam Verdon who headed home from close range to put Neale Fenn’s men back in the driving seat. Dean Byrne’s second assist of the game.
McGlade stunned the home support again with a brilliant solo effort on 80 minutes. Picking the ball up in the centre circle, he dribbled down field with speed before turning his man and blasting it low into the corner of the net to cement the win for Longford Town.
The game ended 4-2 in favour of De Town but not without controversy, a Finn Harps man being sent off after the final whistle, first for a kick at substitute Jamie Hollywood and then a disgusting headbutt on substitute Chris Mulhall.
Poor sportsmanship on display at the end of a great game for Longford Town.
Finn Harps: Ciaran Gallagher, Aidan Friel, Ciaran Coll (C), Keith Cowan, Jesse Devers, Ciaran O’Connor, Tommy McBride (red card), Mark Timlin, Paddy McCourt, Sam Todd.
Longford Town: Michael Kelly, Shane Elworthy, Daniel O’Reilly, Michael McDonnell, Tristan Noack-Hofmann, Dylan McGlade, Aodh Dervin, Dean Zambra (C), Dean Byrne, Sam Verdon, Karl Chambers
Subs: Jack Brady, Peter Hopkins (used), Chris Mulhall (used), Evan Galvin, Jamie Hollywood (used), Jackson Ryan.