Match Report by Tony Ghee
Longford Town’s impressive six game unbeaten league run was brought to a halt in Stradbrook last night as a goal on the half-hour mark from Kevin Knight gave Cabinteely a one-nil victory, a result that sees Longford drop down to fifth in the League table after Finn Harps won away at Galway United.
The Town came into the contest with four wins and two draws from their last six games and the momentum of those back-to-back wins over Galway and Finn Harps over the Bank Holiday weekend had propelled Neale Fenn’s charges into the play-off positions. However, this was always going to be a tricky contest as Cabinteely are very hard beaten at home. Their three home losses to Wexford, Cobh, and Galway were all one goal defeats, while they have beaten UCD, Shelbourne, and Drogheda at Stradbrook, so a draw would have been an excellent result.
The first twenty-five minutes produced very little to entertain the fans but the Town suffered a huge blow after just twelve minutes when striker Dean Byrne who had produced four assists in the wins over Galway and Harps, went off injured with a groin problem that will probably keep him out of action for several weeks.
The first real shot at goal came after twenty-six minutes when McGlade ran at the Cabo defence, turned inside his marker and let fly from the edge of the box, but his shot went wide.
Disaster struck for the visitors on the half-hour mark as Cabinteely took the lead with their first effort on goal. Dalton floated a free-kick from the left into the Town box that was misjudged by Zambra and his attempted clearance deflected the ball straight to Knight at the back post and the Cabinteely full-back fired home from close range.
The Town suddenly came alive and began to exert pressure on the Dubliners defence. On thirty-three minutes, an Elworthy throw found McGlade who cleverly lifted the ball over defender Knight, he ran onto the ball but his strike was well off target.
In the thirty-ninth minute, a sweeping Town move carved open the Cabo rearguard. McDonnell intercepted a Cabo pass and played the ball to McGlade who quickly moved the ball to Mulhall, and Mulhall set-up Verdon for a shot that went narrowly wide.
Just before the interval, Town defender O’Reilly almost equalised but his thunderous fifteen-yard goalbound shot was brilliantly blocked.
Cabinteely should have doubled their advantage just two minutes after the restart. Marty Waters superb ball put in Clucas on the left side of the Longford box, and although the angle was slightly narrow, he only had Town keeper Kelly to beat, but instead of shooting to the far bottom corner he played a harmless ball across the six-yard box that was easily cleared.
Verdon shot over on fifty-two minutes from O’Reilly’s excellent long diagonal pass, while at the other end on seventy-six minutes, clever play from Waters set-up Watson who fired a shot just inches over the Town bar.
Longford completely dominated the last twenty minutes but failed to snatch a deserved equaliser due to a combination of poor finishing, good defending, and a couple of excellent saves from McGuinness in the Cabinteely goal.
Longford almost scored a dramatic injury time equaliser. Galvin’s twenty-yard shot was well saved by McGuinness but the ball came out to Verdon at the back post and he seemed destined to rattle the net from close range only for McGuinness to somehow get across to produce a magnificent save with Mulhall’s rebound strike blocked away.
The Town finished with ten players for the third time in four games as Galvin received his marching orders deep into injury time.
Next up for Longford Town is a home tie against Drogheda next Friday night at the City Calling Stadium at 7.45pm.
Cabinteely FC: McGuinness, Tuite, Fitzpatrick, Lotefa, Knight, Dalton, Watson, Dolan, Casey, Marty Waters, Clucas.
Substitutes: Morgan for Dolan (59 minutes), McGee and Byrne for Clucas and Casey (71 minutes).
Longford Town: Kelly, Elworthy, McDonnell, O’Reilly, Noack-Hofmann, Chambers, Hollywood, Zambra, McGlade, Byrne, Verdon.
Substitutes: Mulhall for Byrne (12 minutes), Hopkins for Chambers (56 minutes), Galvin for Hollywood (71 minutes)