Match Report by Tony Ghee
Longford up to second after crucial win over Drogheda
Longford Town moved above Drogheda into second place in the SSE Airtricity League First Division, as goals from Dylan Grimes and Sam Verdon secured a two-one victory over the Boynesiders at the City Calling Stadium.
Longford are now just five points behind leaders Shelbourne with seven matches remaining as automatic promotion is now back on track for Neale Fenn’s charges ahead of next week’s crucial top four clash away to Cabinteely.
The visitors had the first opportunity on thirteen minutes when Meaney’s twenty-five yard shot flew just wide of the Town post.
Longford dominated possession in the opening half-hour but failed to breach the Drogheda rearguard.
On eighteen minutes, Longford almost scored when striker Aaron Dobbs outpaced defender Luke Gallagher, cut inside from the left and rifled a shot from a tight angle that was saved by the feet of Drogheda keeper Luca Gratzer, while Jack Doherty’s rebound effort was blocked away by a visiting defender.
Four minutes later, the Town created another chance down the left side. This time, Anto Breslin charged into the Drogheda box but his angled strike whistled just wide of the far post.
On the half-hour mark a shot on the turn from Longford new boy Grimes was saved by Drogheda keeper Gratzer.
Totally against the run of play, the Boynesiders took the lead on thirty-two minutes with a very soft goal.Mark Doyle poked the ball across to Meaney who somehow managed to squeeze a weakly hit sixteen yard effort through a crowded penalty area to the Longford net.
Drogheda came close to extending their lead on thirty-seven minutes when the unmarked Gallagher headed a Sean Brennan free-kick onto the top of the Longford net.
The home side deservedly equalised on thirty-nine minutes when Doherty found Grimes inside the Drogheda box, he brilliantly shielded the ball before cleverly back-heeling the ball into the bottom left corner of the Drogheda net.
On fifty-four minutes, Drogheda left-back Conor Kane ran onto a pass from James Clarke and raced into the Town box before unleashing a shot that just cleared the Longford bar.
In the eighty-fourth minute, a Conor Kenna header from a Dean Zambra free-kick was just too high, much to the relief of the visitors’ defence.
However, Drogheda’s relief was short-lived as the ‘Red & Black’ hit the front just a minute later as substitute Verdon headed home Breslin’s left-wing cross to secure three valuable points for Longford Town.
Longford Town (4-1-4-1): Steacy, Elworthy, McDonnell, Kenna, Breslin, Zambra, Grimes, Dervin, Doherty, Chambers, Dobbs.
Substitutes: Hopkins for Grimes (64 minutes), Verdon for Doherty (77 minutes), Evans
Drogheda Utd (4-2-3-1): Gratzer, Heeney, Gallagher, McNally, Kane, Brennan, Hyland, McPhillips, Clarke, Doyle, Meaney.
Substitutes: Adeyemo for McPhillips (45 minutes), O’Shea for Clarke (77 minutes)