Match Report by Tony Ghee
Longford Town let slip a two goal cushion in a game they mainly dominated as they had to settle for a share of the spoils with a two-all draw at home to Cobh Ramblers in their first outing of the 2018 First Division season.
Longford took the lead after just 5 minutes with a superb goal. McDonnell exchanged passes with O’Reilly and then played a perfectly weighted pass to striker Mulhall who kept his composure to rifle a low diagonal shot to the bottom left corner of the Cobh net.
Cobh almost equalised on 9 minutes but Kelly saved well from Leonard’s shot on the turn from the left inside the Town box.
The Town almost went two goals up on 34 minutes when they won three successive corners and from the second one, O’Connor’s delivery picked out McDonnell ten yards out from goal, only for McDonnell’s shot to be cleared off the Cobh line by defender Adam O’Sullivan.
The Town did get a valuable second goal two minutes before the interval when Zambra gained possession on the half way line and surged forward on a super run before laying the ball off to Meenan on the left, Meenan cut inside and pulled a brilliant ball back to Zambra whose initial shot was blocked, however, Zambra pounced to slot home the rebound.
The home side nearly scored a third goal on 63 minutes when Mulhall superbly held the ball up before spinning and threading a great ball through to Verdon who was one-on-one with Cobh keeper Hunt but he shot straight at the Cobh stopper.
Two minutes later, Cobh were back in the contest as substitute Wall powerfully headed home from Murphy’s left-wing corner.
Suddenly, from being two up and in total control of the game, the Town were on the backfoot as the visitors confidence soared and they began to cause the ‘Red & Black’problems.
A revitalised Cobh then capitalised on a dreadful mistake by Town defender McDonnell to secure an unlikely draw. McDonnell’s stray pass was intercepted by Hurley and he passed to striker Leonard who fired a superb low twenty-two yard strike beyond the flailing Town keeper Kelly into the bottom corner of the net.
Longford almost snatched a late injury time winner but Verdon’s deflected long range strike went just inches wide.
Longford Town: Michael Kelly, Shane Elworthy, Michael McDonnell, Daniel O’Reilly, Alan Kehoe, Sam Verdon, Shane O’Connor, Dean Zambra, Peter Hopkins, Chris Mulhall, Darren Meenan.
Substitution: Evan Galvin for Meenan (87 minutes)
Cobh Ramblers: Paul Hunt, Chris Fleming, Ben O’Riordan, James McSweeney, Adam O’Sullivan, Darren Murphy, Jack Lynch, Anthony McAlavey, Ian Mylod, , Cian Leonard, David Hurley.
Substitutions: Andrew Wall for Jack Lynch (56 minutes), Denzil Fernandes for Adam O’Sullivan (71 minutes)