Fri May 3rd 2013
LTFC.ie reporter Kieran Burke previews Friday's game at the RSC where once again plenty of attacking play and goals are expected when Waterford United and Longford Town go head to head in the Airtricity League First Division.
With the point’s gap between the sides sitting at an already extensive eight points ahead of Friday’s game, a defeat for Waterford United could spell disaster for the “Blues” promotion chances even this early on in the 2013 season.
After narrowly missing out on promotion via the play-offs last season, Waterford United were priced up as the bookies favourite for a birth back in the Premier Division come seasons end.
However, three defeats and three draws from the opening eight games has seen the “Blues” playing catch up in recent weeks and to be fair to Paul O’Brien’s men they have responded with a recent run of five games undefeated with last weekend’s win away to Finn Harps the stand out result.
That victory over fellow promotion favourites, Finn Harps, leaves the “Blues” just one win away from taking up second spot and with Longford’s record at the RSC nowhere near as impressive as their home record over Waterford, the “Blues” will be hopefull of reversing the early season defeat against Tony Cousins men.
Come from behind goals from Michael Ischieli and, goal machine, David O’Sullivan gave Longford a 2-1 victory at City Calling Stadium in series two of the Airtricity League First Division back in March with Paudie Quinn’s sensational 13 minute opener not enough for Waterford on the night.
Recent meetings between the two sides have been well worth the admission with last season’s 4-2 win for Waterford United at the RSC was one of the games of the season as, the now departed, Seani Maguire lit up the Regional Sports Centre with a sensational hat-trick.
Since thathe play-off defeat at the start of November, Tony Cousins has worked like a beaver (in the words of Chris Kamara) to not only strengthen his starting eleven but his squad as a whole and two months into the season it looks to have been a success with a number of early season injuries and suspensions failing to derail the Longford charge.
If anything, Paul O’Brien (through no fault of his own) has seen his side weakened with the aforementioned Maguire being picked up by, London based Premier League side, West Ham United while one of the country’s most experienced midfielders, Gary Dempsey has returned to the top flight with Bray Wanderers where he continues to impress.
When the signing of junior league striker, Paul “Cogs” Quilty was announced by Paul O’Brien, many Waterford fans expected the prolific lower league striker to be their main man this season but it has been the performances of former Limerick man, Paudie Quinn that have caught the eye with six goals in the opening eight games.
If United are to fire on Friday night, Quinn will need to be at his best in that number 10 role he has taken up at the top of the “Blues” attack and it will certainly give Longford boss, Tony Cousins something to think about when making his midfield selection.
Defensive organisation is not always a priority when these two sides face off but if Waterford are to stand any chance of claiming all three points on Friday night they will have to find a way to cancel out the threat of the league’s top goal scorer in David O’Sullivan. The former Wayside Celtic man has proved to be a revelation since joining in the off-season with a strike rate of more than a goal a game.
“Sully” as he is now known by “De Town” faithful has credited a lot of his success this season to the supply he has received from the Longford midfield this season and with Daniel Purdy, Etanda Nkolo, Keith Quinn and Keith Gillespie just some of the options Cousins will have to chose between on Friday night we should expect plenty of goals once again at the RSC.