A brace from Eric Foley helped Shelbourne claim their first away win of the season in a goal fest at Flancare Park.
Foley opened the scoring in the 16th minute with a speculative long range effort and the goals came flooding in after that.
The visitors raced into a 3-0 lead before the Town pulled a goal back six minutes from the break. The goals continued in the second half and Shelbourne were lucky not to be reduced to ten men after goalkeeper Dean Delaney upended Derek Glynn in the box. As last man he should’ve received his marching orders but referee Graham Kelly issued a yellow card and pointed to the spot. Delaney saved John Lester’s penalty but the midfielder scored on the rebound. The scoring didn’t end there; Shelbourne grabbed another goal before Town defender Chris Deans pulled one back for his side ten minutes from time. They couldn’t conjure up anything else after that to put pressure on Shelbourne.
In an entertaining contest it was the home side that created the first chance in the third minute. Mark Salmon broke down the wing, he played the ball into Peter Hynes’ path but Delaney was able to get down and save his former team-mate’s effort.
Mark Hughes then had a chance for Shels straight from the kick-out but his shot from about 25 yards out just went over the crossbar. Hughes found himself through on goal six minutes later but Gary Cronin did well to intercept the danger and clear.
It was all Shels at this stage and Hughes, in particular, was causing the Town defence problems. In the 14th minute the striker was again in a good position but Derek Tyrell put in a fine tackle to put the ball out for a throw-in.
Their pressure was to pay off two minutes later when they broke the deadlock. Eric Foley decided to chance his luck with a long range effort that somehow crept in past Town keeper Aaron Shanahan.
Shelbourne doubled their advantage in the 25th minute. Foley played the ball across goal and David Cassidy toe poked it home. Foley followed up with free in the 32nd minute but it was saved by Shanahan. After being totally outplayed the Town created an opportunity in the 36th minute but Chris Deans just shot inches wide.
That was to prove costly because Shelbourne went up the other end of the pitch and grabbed goal number 3, this time David McGill getting on the score sheet, though he looked to have been offside. One minute later the Town pulled a goal back; McDonagh crossed for Hynes who fired past Delaney.
The Town had a chance to grab their second of the night three minutes after the restart. Ryan McEvoy’s corner found the head of Deans but his header went just over. They were to rue that because just like before Shelbourne broke and showed the Town how it’s done; this time substitute Mark Leech getting on the score sheet.
The goals or drama didn’t end there. Derek Glynn found himself in a great position in the box but as he struck his shot he was taken down by Delaney. The net minder was extremely lucky to escape with just a yellow card after being last man. Substitute John Lester took the spot- kick which was saved by Delaney but he found the net with the rebound. Game on again.
Marc Hughes had a chance to add to his side’s goal tally in the 71st minute but Shanahan got down to save his effort.
Six minutes later and Shelbourne were awarded a penalty, after David Cassidy’s free appeared to strike Lester’s arm while in the wall. Up stepped Foley who slotted the ball past Shanahan. Shelbourne had regained their three goal advantage.
Minutes later we had another goal this time Deans heading home from close range. The Town tried to get back into the game but for all their possession their passing was poor and Shelbourne weren’t troubled too much.
Longford Town: Aaron Shanahan, Victor Ekanem, Kevin Cronin, Chris Deans, Derek Tyrell, JP McDonagh, Mark Salmon, Ryan McEvoy, Gary Cronin, Peter Hynes, Derek Glynn.
Subs: John Lester for G Cronin half-time, Fiachra McArdle for McDonagh 74mins
Not used: Craig Mooney, Dave Freeman, Thomas Hyland.
Shelbourne: Dean Delaney, Ray Scully, Stephen Quigley, Ian Ryan, Michael Coburn, Paul Shiels, Dave McGill, David Cassidy, Mark Hughes, Mark Leech, Eric Foley.
Subs: Philly Gorman for Leech 66mins, Darren Forsyth for Hughes 86mins
Not used: Stephen Williams, Dinny Corcoran, Robbie Clarke.
Referee: Graham Kelly (Cork)
Attendance: 300 approx
Extratime man of the match: Eric Foley (Shelbourne) – scored two and made one.