Fri Aug 2nd 2013
After a disappointing loss to fellow promotion rivals Mervue United last weekend “De Town” will look to get themselves back on track ahead of next weekend’s “El Clasico” with victory over Shane Keegan’s Wexford Youths on Friday night. Here to preview the away game is our reporter Kieran Burke (@burko77_):
Tony Cousins Longford Town will attempt to reclaim control at the top of the First Division on Friday night when the travel to Ferrycarig Park in Wexford for a make or break game. “De Town” finally conceded their long time reign at the top of the second tier last weekend when they suffered a shock 3-1 home defeat against a rampant Mervue United side while Midland rivals Athlone claimed a valuable point away to Waterford United the previous night to go above Longford on goal difference.
With the penultimate Midlands derby taking place at The City Calling Stadium next Saturday Longford will be aiming to be at least level with Roddy Collins men before that game as it will then give the “Red and Black” a great chance of taking the imitative at the top going into the final series of games in the Airtrcity League this season.
Friday’s opponents Wexford Youths lie third bottom in the eight team division and after suffering an awful run of five straight league defeats and any hope of a late play-off place push for the Youths looks to be gone for this season with second bottom Cobh Ramblers just three points behind Shane Keegan’s men.
The first meeting of the season between Wexford Youths and Longford Town was a memorable one for the small but vocal travelling contingent at Ferrycarrig Park as Tony Cousins men fought for over an hour with ten men following Keith Gillespie’s sending off to claim a 1-0 win thanks to a sublime solo effort from man of the match David O’Sullivan. That against the odds win gave the whole club a real boost of belief that this could be their year to finally secure promotion and that could be seen in the passionate celebration by manager Tony Cousins after the match.
The most recent encounter came at The City Calling Stadium just two weeks before the mid-season break with the home side running out comfortable 3-1 winners against a youthful and unorganised Wexford side who were punished greatly in the first half for their mistakes with “De Town” going in at the break 3-0 up before a much improved second half showing from Keegan’s men saw his side notch the goal their play in the second period deserved with Joe Mulcahy converting a fine free-kick.
Town boss Tony Cousins has spoke of his disappointment in recent weeks of the fact his side are not keeping enough clean sheets and following last Saturday’s defeat against Mervue United the Longford back four cannot afford to give away silly goals in games such as this Friday’s in Wexford. While the Youths have been in poor form of late they did show earlier in the season what they are capable of with players such as midfielder Brian Nolan and striker Deano Broaders just two of the man Longford will have to mark tightly if they are to come through this task unscathed.
For the first time in weeks Cousins will have no suspensions to contend with while Longford fans will be pleased to hear one of Wexford’s key defenders C.J. Browne will be absent following a fourth yellow card last weekend away to Finn Harps.
The visitors this Friday night should take comfort in the fact that Wexford Youths last victory over Longford came all the way back in 2010 at the then named Flancare Park but as ever Keegan’s men are expected to be well organised and extremely tough to break down so do not be surprised if you see the home side play with two banks of four and look to break quickly when the opportunity arises.
With David O’Sullivan a well marshalled man these days by other League of Ireland defenders it really is time for some of the other goal scorers in the Town side to step up to the mark and give the Youths defenders something else to think about and if the likes of Quinn, Purdy, Shaw and O’Brien can put pressure on the Youths back four that will in turn create the extra space “Sully” needs to add to his goals tally of 20 so far this season.
One thing is for sure with this being such a huge game in Longford’s season the players really do appreciate the extra vocal support they have been receiving away from home in every game this season and we ask you to get down to Wexford and back the boys this Friday night at Ferrycarrig Park. Kick-off is 8:00pm and there are still seats available on the supporter’s club bus, contact Liam on 087 614 1926 if you wish to book your place.