Longford Town 1 - 2 GUST
Report by: Rachael McKeon
On Saturday last the two teams still looking for a win in the Southern section of the U19 Airtricity League came head to head in Flancare Park. There was a large travelling support in attendance and to their delight it was the visitors who took the lead with just five minutes on the clock. GUST received an early corner kick and after it was swung into the box, Morgan Lyons lost his marker to head home and give his side the lead. Just one minute later Lyons found himself free in the box once more but this time his effort went just over the crossbar, much to the relief of the Town players and management.
After a nervy start by Longford they started to settle into the game and Mark Rossiter almost turned provider for Alex Kenny when he swung a lovely ball into the box that unfortunately saw the out coming GUST keeper Ciaran Macmathuna claim the ball just above striker Kenny’s head. Despite their shaky start Longford began to dominate with most of the chances going their way. Ryan Carberry sent a brilliant ball into the path of Rossiter who got his shot off but it was well blocked by a defender. At this point the home side were unleashing wave after wave of attack but due to some good goal keeping and some wayward shooting GUST were holding onto their lead. As the game neared half time Town’s Kenny made a great run into the visitors box where he was taken down by GUST defender Sean Deane just as he was about to unleash his shot. Unfortunately for the home side and not for the first time in the game the young and seemingly inexperienced referee saw no fault with this sort of challenge and there was uproar from the Longford bench as he waved play on. This was the last action of note in the first half and Longford must have felt aggrieved to be going in a goal down at the break.
As the second half began it was the Town that had the first chance when a dangerous free kick from Kieran McNamara was met by the head of centre half David Mackey but he found the GUST keeper in fine form. Within a minute Rossiter was played in by Dean Cosgrave but his shot went agonisingly wide with the GUST keeper beaten. On 53 minutes the young referee caused yet more controversy when Town keeper McNamara came out to smother the ball at the feet of GUST striker Darragh Kelly and he astonishingly pointed to the spot and awarded GUST a penalty. He also booked the Town keeper despite him clearly winning the ball. Kelly dusted himself off, stepped up and put the ball past McNamara to double his sides advantage. Feeling aggrieved I’m sure and with nothing seeming to go their way Longford stepped it up a gear and rallied in search of a goal to put them back in contention. In the 70th minute Kieran McNamara swung a dangerous free kick into the GUST penalty area where one of the visiting defenders pulled Steven Boateng to the ground as he went to attack the ball. The referee had no choice but to point to the spot and award the home side a penalty that Kenny clinically dispatched to the net. Minutes later the Town side now buoyed by this goal were unlucky not to get the equaliser when substitute Paul Kennedy hit a snap shot that was well saved by Macmathuna. Kennedy was involved yet again when he crossed the ball into the GUST box but an outstretched Rossiter just couldn’t get the touch it needed to direct it to the net. With just two minutes remaining Macmathuna in the visitor’s goal was to become the hero for his side. Michael James unleashed a thunderous volley from just outside the box and despite the ball travelling past many bodies the keeper somehow managed to push the ball around the post and ensure his side left with all three points.
This summed up Longford’s day as the final whistle blew to bring proceedings to an end. Upon reflection I’m sure the home side will be disappointed to not have come away with at least a point from a game that they dominated for long periods.
Next up for Longford is the visit to Flancare Park of league leaders Limerick FC at 2pm on Saturday.
Longford Town: David McNamara, Cormac Kennedy, Steven Boateng, David Mackey, Dean Cosgrave, Aaron Brilly(c), Kieran McNamara, Mark Rossiter, Jamie Coady, Alex Kenny, Ryan Carberry.
Subs: Michael James for Coady (62mins), Paul Kennedy for Carberry (68mins).
Not Used: Ruairi Carberry, Paul Rushe, Patrick Clinton, Sean Duarte, Cillian Glacken, Liam O’Farrell.
GUST: Ciaran Macmathuna, Cory Bono, Connor Lally, Sean Deane, Gabriel Darcy, Dean Herney, Kennedy Boachh-Ansan, Rikki Graham, Luke Deacy Darragh Kelly, Morgan Lyons.
Subs: John Allan, Junior Iyane, William Condon, Seamus Curry, Patrick Madden, Emmanuel Obadeyi, Rahmanzckiri.