GUTSY WIN IN WEXFORD
The sunny south east lived up to its name as the sun shone on the vast, well manicured farms of Wexford. It was a three hour trip via Tullamore and Carlow shortened by a lively quiz courtesy of the knowledgeable Section O. In Carlow we picked up a Longford exile, the dapper, Hugh Dolan who was proudly sporting his Town tie and travelling on a supporters' bus for the first time in 55 years.
The Town started reasonably well in front of a tiny home support and local TD. Without the hard core, travelling Longford Town support, it would have been a quiet affair at Ferrycarrig Park. For long passages of play, you'd find it hard to believe that we were the league leaders as passes went astray and any pattern to our play was absent. Keith Gillespie did test their keeper as he continues to search for that elusive first goal. But the same player was in the thick of things when on 36 minutes, he was shown a red card for displaying some robustness. The video later evidence deemed the sending off as very harsh indeed.
Having played poorly up until that incident, it looked like we were in for a torrid time and a long journey home. In fairness we could have gone in at least two down at half time; they could have have had a penalty and we also survived a very dangerous back pass. But as often happens following a sending off, the Town became stronger, dug deeper and started to impose themselves on the game.
With the night getting colder, the tempo of the game increased after the interval. The breakthrough eventually came from the golden boot of David O Sullivan (who else?). With just over ten minutes gone in the second half, Sullie found himself surrounded by two Wexford defenders out on the left, but he cut through both to find an other Youth facing him but he too has was rounded and Sullie let fly with his left which cut across the keeper and rested in the far corner. An other goal of the season contender. Within a minute, Sullie found himself surrounded by five defenders, this time more in the centre. But again, he did a Houdini act, ghosted past them all and unleashed a powerful shot which blasted off the butt of the upright, their keeper frozen top the spot.
But Wexford almost found a late equaliser when a header was flying in low only for Chris Bannion to make a full length dive to this right to palm away the ball and then saved the follow up with his feet. Tony Cousins was over joyed and danced with glee at the sound of the final whistle. He had reason to as the fourth official was over diligent and pernickety with our man while totally disregarding the hosts' manager.
It was a gutsy win by a battling ten man Longford Town, with the back four in particular being rock solid. A short sing song, an other quiz, Supermacs chips in Portlaoise and with Paul Smith's excellent driving, most in bed happy by 2am. A good night was enjoyed by all.
ATHLONE AT HOME
This Saturday night should see a very big crowd converge on City Calling Stadium for the visit of near neighbours Athlone Town. This season they're under the guidance of the astute Roddy Collins who is no stranger to the supporters of Longford Town. They're also visiting after a confidence boosting win over Finn Harps in Donegal, so expectations of an other win on their travels will be high. To date, we've been slow enough to get out of the blocks but we can't afford that against Saturday night's visitors.. This game will be the last one of round one and while there's a long journey ahead yet, it'd be great to have all three points bagged by the end of the game. Though, we're red and black in the face saying it, we really need to see more support out the Strokestown Road. We're league leaders, have a superb star striker in David O Sullivan with talent oozing all the squad but we could do with your support on Saturday as much as anything. Support local sport, there's nothing like the real, live thing.
CAR BOOT SALE
With two very successful Car Boot Sales behind us, people have been ringing up and texting about our next one. Well, Monday May 6th at City Calling Stadium, Strokestown Rd will be the next Supporters' Club Car Boot Sale, it being the next bank holiday on the calendar. So you've plenty of advance warning to clear your garage or attic and make a few handy euro for the summer holidays.
KEEPING IN TOUCH
These few weekly notes are our effort in the Supporters' Club to keep you up to date with events surrounding De Town. Some of you read this on our recently revamped www.ltfc.ie, some have the notes sent directly to your phone while others wait patiently until the Leader appears on Wednesday morning. Well from this week on they're also available on www.longfordlocal.ie. So whether in S Korea, Kuwait, Sudan or simply London, Sydney or Main St., New York, you're only a click away. Pass the word. And remember, you can text your Player of the Month nominations, when the time comes, to 087 9896269. Do keep in touch.
The past week-end was truly remarkable for the first division. No, RTE didn't mention us, now that would be beyond belief. But in results going our way, it was extraordinary. Athlone did us a favour by beating Finn Harps, who were in second place. But the most extraordinary, if not bizarre result surely came from St Colman's Park in Cobh. Mervue, joint second, were visiting down there. They were even leading towards the end, missed a penalty and then some local volcano must have erupted. There were three red cards for poor auld Mervue, three penalties against them and all three scored for the hosts to run out winners by the incredible score of five three. And after our remarkable come back against Mervue last year, we thought they were shellshocked. What must they have been like when the final whistle sounded in Cobh. Is it any wonder they're having the best crowds in the league. Every single game seems to produce a goalfest. Maybe, MNS might even have a mention for them now. That'd be some miracle.