MATCH REPORT BY TONY GHEE
Longford Town moved back to the top-of-the First Division as a Lee Steacy penalty save and a stunning Dean Byrne goal earned the 'Red & Black' a narrow one-nil victory over Limerick FC at the City Calling Stadium.
The first half provided very little excitement with shots being blocked or fired well wide by both sides.
However, the Town came close to taking the lead on thirteen minutes when Mick McDonnell's header from Anto Breslin's corner was saved by Limerick keeper Jack Brady, the ball came back out to Adam Evans but his close range shot was cleared off the line by a Limerick defender and then Sam Verdon completely missed connecting with his rebound effort from just six yards out.
Limerick missed a glorious opportunity to break the deadlock on fifty-two minutes when they were correctly awarded a penalty.
Sean McSweeney threaded a perfect pass through to Conor Ellis who was upended inside the Town box by Shane Elworthy and referee Alan Patchell pointed to the spot. Up stepped Shane Tracy but his low spot kick towards the bottom left corner was superbly saved by Town keeper Steacy.
Limerick's woes continued seven minutes later when they were reduced to ten players as striker McSweeney was shown a straight red card for a two footed lunge on Elworthy.
Longford Town made use of their extra man to take the lead on seventy-four minutes with an exquisite move that was brilliantly finished by substitute Dean Byrne.
Carlton Ubaezuono won possession just inside his own half and exchanged passes with Sean Brennan, Brennan cleverly switched play to the right wing where he found Byrne, and the substitute swapped passes with Elworthy, stepped inside and rifled a twenty yard shot to the Limerick net.
Longford Town (4-1-4-1): Steacy, Elworthy, McDonnell, Kenna, Breslin, Zambra, Ubaezuono (Chambers 80 minutes), Dervin, Brennan, Evans (Byrne 57 minutes), Verdon (Dobbs 71 minutes).
Limerick FC (4-2-3-1): Brady, Kelly, Williams, Brouder, Fitzgerald, Tracy, Murphy, Ellis, Hughes, O'Sullivan (Hanlon 85 minutes), McSweeney.