Match Report by Tony Ghee
Longford Town recorded their first opening home league win since 2013 with a three-nil triumph over Drogheda United at the City Calling Stadium and in the process kept a second consecutive clean sheet, although the Town had to rely on the heroics of keeper Lee Steacy to remain in the contest at the interval.
The Town created the first opening in the fourth minute when Sam Verdon’s pass picked out striker Aaron Dobbs but his crisp, low shot was well saved by Paul Skinner.
On eleven minutes, Drogheda’s dangerous right-winger Adam Wixted weaved his way past two Town defenders only to hit his shot straight at Town stopper Lee Steacy.
Longford had a very lucky let-off on eighteen minutes when keeper Steacy came to the home side’s rescue. A superb ball over the top of the Town defence from Luke Gallagher located Mark Doyle inside the Town box, but Steacy produced an excellent save, and moments later, he was called into action again, as he tipped over a long range strike from Mark Hughes.
The ‘Red & Black’ nearly took the lead in the twenty-second minute as Dean Byrne’s brilliant pass released striker Dobbs, however, his shot across goal from the right whistled narrowly wide of Drogheda’s far post.
Longford keeper Steacy was in outstanding form and denied the visitors Hughes twice within sixty seconds on thirty-four minutes. Firstly, he produced a magnificent save to keep out a close range effort from the Drogheda man, and that was followed by an incredible save from a Hughes header after magical play from Wixted had created the chance.
A great knock down at the back post across goal from Verdon set-up Paul O’Connor, but just as the Town player was about to pull the trigger, Sean Brennan’s brilliant sliding challenge rescued the visitors.
Longford broke the deadlock in the sixty-second minute, Byrne seized possession after a mistake from Doyle and ran between the two Drogheda centre-halves before calmly guiding the ball past Skinner, into the bottom left-corner of the Drogheda net.
Dean Byrne opened the scoring for De Town in a 3-0 victory over Drogheda United
Shortly afterwards, Town came close to extending their lead but Breslin’s ball from the left was headed inches over by Dobbs.
Longford sealed the victory on eighty-three minutes with a stunning second goal. Verdon played a perfectly weighted pass to Elworthy on the right, his marauding run took him past Kane and his pin-point cross resulted in Dobbs’ diving header rattling the Drogheda net.
Longford rounded off the scoring in the ninety-first minute when substitute Hopkins beat the offside trap to run onto a Doyle pass, he rounded keeper Skinner and slotted home into the empty net.
Longford Town (4-3-2-1): Steacy, Chambers (Elworthy 81 minutes), Manley, Kenna, Breslin, Verdon, O’Connor, Dervin, Zambra, Byrne (86 mins), Dobbs (Doyle 84 mins)
Drogheda Utd (4-2-3-1): Skinner, Brown, Gallagher, McNally, Kane, Brennan, Hughes, Wixted, (Meaney 73 mins), Byrne, Doyle (Heaney 63 mins), Lyons