Longford Town 2 - 3 Wexford Youths
Report by: Rachael McKeon
On Sunday last Longford Town U19’s were back in action as the second round of games kicked off and they welcomed Mick Wallace’s Wexford Youths to Flancare Park. For the Town team this was the opportunity to try and avenge for the defeat they suffered down in Wexford two weeks ago. As play got under way the home side took the game to their visitors and looked sharp and well up for the occasion. Included in the Longford side for the day was Alex Kenny who made his first start the previous night for the first team against Finn Harps.
Also in the side was Aaron Brilly who came on to make his senior debut on what was his 17th birthday. A second debutant for the game in Ballybofe was striker Brian McNamara who unfortunately didn’t make the starting eleven for the U19’s as he was carrying a slight knock. Longford had the first attack of the game when Brilly played a great ball into the box but unfortunately striker Paul Kennedy couldn’t get enough on it to head past Wexford stopper Brandon O’Callaghan. Minutes later the hard working Kenny was unlucky not to beat the keeper with a shot for just inside the Wexford box. From this point on Wexford began to come into the game and in the 20th minute they were unlucky not to open the scoring when Danny Fitzpatrick turned on the edge of the Town box and had a shot, but it was well cleared by Town defender Steven Boateng. Longford were forced into a substitution on 22 minutes when Paul Kennedy came off through injury and was replaced by Mark Rossiter. Within a minute the substitute swung a wonderful ball into the Wexford box but midfielder Brilly just couldn’t reach the ball and it rolled out for a goal kick. On 32 minutes the home side opened the scoring when Cormac Kennedy put a great ball into the box for Rossiter who controlled the ball on his thigh and chipped the out coming Wexford keeper. Unbelievably and to the astonishment of all in the ground the referee disallowed the goal, this discussion seemed bizarre as no foul was evident and no flag came from the linesman. Within minutes Longford had a free kick on the edge of the Wexford box and Kieran McNamara delivered the ball to Brilly who had a snap shot and forced Wexford keeper O’Callaghan into making a great save. From the resulting corner Kenny struck a shot that saw the visitor’s defender Delaney clear the ball off the line. Five minutes from half time Wexford were awarded a dubious free kick that was floated into the box and met by Wexford captain Gary Delaney who shot low and hard into the left hand corner of the Town goal. The Town feeling aggrieved I’m sure went on the attack and within a minute Rossiter played a dangerous cross into the visitors box that was met by Kenny who finished past the stranded net minder O’Callaghan. This brought the half to a close and the sides went in level at the break.
A minute after the restart disaster was to strike for Longford as Wexford’s Fitzpatrick latched onto a ball in the box, went around Town defender Boateng and finished low into the home sides net to make the score 2-1 to the visitors. This seemed to rattle the home side but on 50 minutes the now composed again Town side began to attack once more and Rossiter once again brought the best out of O’Callaghan in the Wexford goal with a great shot from the edge of the area. Minute’s later Town defender Boateng struck from all of 30 yards out only to find the Wexford net minder in top form again. From the resulting kick out the ball was played back into the Wexford box by substitute Michael James only for Rossiter to fire over the bar. From here on the game became a physical battle in midfield and both sides despite the physicality were playing some good football but clear cut chances were few and far between. The next chance of note fell to Longford when some good passing play on the left hand side resulted in a ball into the box where Boni Odoemene missed the target by inches. In the 71st minute the away side were to punish some poor defending when Fitzpatrick got between the Town centre halves and finished neatly to the net for his second and his sides third goal of the day. Their two goal lead was short lived however as minutes later Rossiter got to the end line to deliver an inch perfect pass to James who finished to the Wexford net. From here on Longford piled on the pressure and had some good opportunities to draw level but found the Wexford stopper O’Callaghan in fine form for the second game running to deny them a much deserved equaliser. Wexford I’m sure will be delighted that they held out for this hard earned victory and for Longford they will now be looking towards next week’s second U19 El Classico where the form book as with all local derbies will mean nothing. That game in Lissywollen against unbeaten table toppers Athlone Town may well be the perfect tonic for this Town team who are battling hard to get that elusive victory. That game takes place on Monday evening next with a 7pm kick off.
Longford Town: Liam O’Farrell, Cormac Kennedy, Steven Boateng, David Mackey, Paul Rushe, Aaron Brilly(c), Kieran McNamara, Paul Kennedy, Dean Cosgrave, Alex Kenny, Boni Odoemene.
Subs: Mark Rossiter for Paul Kennedy (22mins), Michael James for Rushe (45mins), Jamie Coady for Kenny (72mins).
Not Used: David McNamara, Brian McNamara, Ryan Carberry, Sean Duarte, Padraig Gallagher, Cillian Glacken.
Wexford Youths: Brandon O’Callaghan, Dale Scallon, Nevin Rossiter, Ryan Delaney, Joseph Barry Wallace, Gary Delaney, Maurice Hayes, Donal Shanley, Chris Ponner, Paul Devereux, Danny Fitzpatrick.
Subs: Mark Donoghue, Steven Kehoe, Mark McManus, Jason McHugh, Tony Smith, Shane Sinnott.