Every game is different of course, but we beat Athlone by the same score as last time and the we had the same scorers, Colm James and Noel Haverty as in that magnificent win against Limerick.
Overall we were the better side but many of the home supporters were upset with the ref's failure to award them penalties. There was some real drama in the dying minutes when an Athlone player went down in the box. The shrill of the whistle was enough to stop some fragile hearts but when he booked the offender for cheating, our hearts soared. It then had to be pointed out to the ref that it was his second yellow card, so Athlone finished with ten men on the pitch.We certainly didn't dispute that decision.
A very good crowd travelled over to Athlone and Section O were in particularly good voice and added greatly to the night's win. Once again we started brightly. Gary Shaw is a real find this season and is a massive worker. He took the ball from an Athlone player and passed to Colm James, who with the outside of his right boot curled the ball into the far corner of the net from the edge of the box. It was a super strike and is a definite contender for goal of the season. One up after just 11 minutes in an away game is always a tonic to settle nerves.After that opening stunning goal, things seemed to settle down with Gary Shaw coming closest to adding to our tally.
There was a greater resolve to the hosts game in the second half and after just nine minutes they were on level terms with Craig Hyland being caught out by a clever lob. But just on the hour mark, De Town went ahead again with Noel Haverty getting at the end of a beautifully struck corner from Keith Gillespie. Athlone thought they had a chance to draw level with a penalty shout but as pointed out earlier, that plan backfired badly. Indeed Daniel Purdy came close to adding to his personal tally but their keeper managed to scramble the ball away to safety.
Over all it was an other excellent team display from Longford Town. It's difficult to single anyone out but the youth and energy of Gary Shaw along with the skill and guile of Keith Gillespie was a joy to behold, but every single Town player played an important role in the capture of three more valuable points.
WEXFORD AT HOME
We managed to beat Wexford down in Wexford early on in the season and hopefully we can do the double this Saturday night at Flancare, kick off 7.30. If we do manage to beat them, it'll be a remarkable statistic with the Gaelic team also beating the “Yellow Bellies” twice since Christmas
also. The Youths are doing quite well and had an excellent 2-0 win against Galway SD last week. If we were playing them on paper, we'd be confident enough but the real thing is utterly different. Some supporters say we tend to rise our game against better opposition but when you look back over all of our games to date, our biggest wining margin was two goals with every other one being won by just a single goal. So, the moral of the story is that each game is close and if we want evidence of how hard it can be, just whisper Finn Harps at home a few short weeks ago. We simply can't afford an other performance like that particular one, but a win on Saturday night would set us up nicely for the long and difficult Waterford game the following week. Again, what we really, really want is a large and vocal local crowd to come out and support De Town. They continue to do the business on the pitch, it's up to us to do likewise off the pitch and support our own.
Johnny Nevin has been busy trawling the scrapbooks and old papers looking for interesting pictures from way back when Johnny was in nappies and even before he was born. Well the search has paid off and if a hammer and some nails can be found before Saturday night, you should be able to view the results of his historical dig. Well, we also have to find someone who can drive a nail straight and that is proving difficult. But have a look around the Clubhouse as you sip your tea or coffee and let your mind wander back to the era of long awful hair, black and white photographs and some really talented players who plied their trade with De Town. At least, they'll try to convince you they were talented, draw your own conclusions.
PLAYER OF THE MONTH/ APRIL
While there weren't as many nominees as the previous month, there was a fairly close run competition between three players for this month's award. By the time all texts were added up at the week-end, one man stood alone,Colm James. Not alone has he bagged four goals to date, but his goals have been truly outstanding top drawer net busters. Apart from Colm's goal scoring prowess, his general play has also been excellent all month, and so he's our worthy winner of the April award. There were a few players just behind Collie and hopefully they'll maintain their high standards which are keeping us top of the league and be rewarded shortly with a Player of the Month award. The trophy , in memory of our late dear friend and Supporters' Club member John Donlon, will be presented before the game against Wexford Youths by Brendan Turner, our esteemed Chairman.
CAR BOOT SALE
It's almost impossible to believe Monday next is our next Car Boot Sale . As the man said, “you can throw away your watch, but you can't stop time”. It's just flying past. So, if you still haven't sampled our Car Boot Sales, then this Bank Holiday Monday,May 7th is your chance. Everyone who has gone out to Flancare for these events have said that they've exceeded expectations in every way. The range of goods available for sale is truly mazing and if it's bargains you're searching for, you'll be spoiled for choice. And on the other hand, if you want to move on some unwanted items from your house, then this is a chance to make some money from your surplus supply. As one regular put it, “you'd be daft to miss it”.
Pity the poor Town supporter who, at the last minute, had to travel to Dublin alone last Friday evening. She had all arrangements made to be at the Athlone game but they had to be shelved in a hurry. Heading up the M4, she received her first text and when the coast was clear, she sneaked a look and was delighted to read that we were 1 up. The second text came as she sped along the M50 and decided that was the signal for being 2 up. She actually believed that second text sounded happy. Now how can a text sound happy or sad. Anyway, she was still driving along the M50 when the phone beeped once again. This time she wasn't so sure if it was a happy or a sad text. The tension was driving her crazy. Surely, it couldn't be 3-0 against Athlone, or could it be 2-1 to our near neighbours. By now, our distracted friend was suffering extreme mental torture while the phone flickered, as if teasing her. Being after 9pm the traffic had eased quite a bit,she had a quick glance around her and seeing no Garda car decided to have a quick look. To be perfectly honest, she has considerable experience of multi-tasking but as she kept one eye on the traffic and the other on the phone screen, she somehow noticed blue flashing lights alongside her. She simply had no option but to pull over for the unmarked Garda car. She decided to tell, the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth to the bemused Garda....who, would you believe it, turned out to be a former League of Ireland player, with strong Longford Town links.Fortunately, he decided to let her off with just a yellow card.
And the moral of the story is, make sure you get to the Town games and let someone else do the driving !
TROUBLE IN PARADISE?
Limerick suffered a surprise home defeat to Waterford which in turn turned our good win into a super result by providing us with a four point advantage at the table top. Their attendance was down considerably from when we beat Limerick down there and if the local reporter is to be believed, all is not well in paradise. But in fairness, there's a long way to go before anyone will be entering the pearly gates of the Premier Division. But being on top for now , sure feels good.