Athlone Town 1 - 2 Longford TownSat, Apr 28 2012
For the second time this season Colm James and Noel Haverty were both on the scoresheet for Longford Town as they claimed a 2-1 win away to Athlone Town on Friday night.
Just three weeks ago James and Haverty scored the goals as Longford defeated Limerick in Jackman Park and the pair were on target again as Longford Town stretched their lead at the top of the Airtricity First Division table. In doing so they inflicted a second El Classico defeat of the season on Athlone Town.
In recent years the Midlands derby has failed to live up to its name and this one was no different, it wasn’t until the final few minutes that the game sprung into life. Athlone had claims for a penalty turned down in the 87th minute when Mark Sherlock went down in
the box under a challenge from Haverty. Sherlock was booked for diving and having realised the striker had been booked before referee Phil Caschera brandished a red card.
During the 90 minutes Athlone had claims for three penalties turned down with Sherlock involved in two. Just one minute before the break Sherlock went down in the box but the ref waved away their appeals. In the 81st minute Niall Scullion’s powerful shot came off a group of Longford defenders, hard to see if it hit a hand, Scullion’s frustrations led to him getting booked and then there was Sherlock’s incident three minutes from time.
In a game that neither team dominated Longford’s experience showed in the end and that was the difference. Over the course of the game neither goalkeeper was called to make a decent save with Pat Jennings being slightly the busier of the two keepers.
Longford started lively and after a few half chances they took the lead in the 11th minute. Gary Shaw did very well to dispossess Mark Walsh and he laid the ball off to James who curled a beautiful strike into the top left-hand corner of the net, his fourth goal of the
After that, despite both sides having possession, they failed to create anything of note. In the 43rd minute the lively Gary Shaw broke into the Athlone box, doing well to find the space to take a shot, and Jennings had to be alert to palm the danger away.
Down the other end Longford defender Thomas Crawley and Sherlock tussled in the box with Sherlock going to ground; no penalty according to the referee.
The home side started the second half well and began to apply real pressure. Nine minutes after the break they were on level terms when Noel McGee chipped the ball into the path of Sherlock who deftly lobbed the ball over Longford keeper Craig Hyland.
It was suddenly game on. In previous games there was never anything between the sides so the next goal was going to be crucial. It was Longford who struck with what ended up being the winning goal. Keith Gillespie swung in a corner and, in a crowded penalty area, Haverty shot home from close range.
Athlone tried to respond to that goal and three minutes later McGee squandered a great opportunity to level the game. After receiving the ball from Brian Gill the striker went through on goal but fluffed his shot and Hyland was able to gather.
Longford didn’t look like they’d add to Haverty’s goal and for the last quarter of the game had to defend as Athlone pressed for an equaliser. Scullion’s powerful shot came off a Longford defender in the 81st minute and more appeals for a penalty were waved away.
Then, three minutes from time, Sherlock went down in the box. As the referee blew his whistle everyone waited to see if he’d point to the spot; he instead booked Sherlock for diving. The linesman noted that the striker was already booked and therefore a red needed to be shown too.
Deep into stoppage time Daniel Purdy had a chance to grab Longford’s third goal but his effort was saved by the feet of Jennings.
Athlone Town: Pat Jennings; Mark Walsh, Paul Danaher, Brian McCarthy, Niall Scullion; Garvan Broughall (Stephen Relihan 61), Darren Coleman (Warren Conroy 71), Brian Gill, Jason Hughes (Ian Sweeney 67); Mark Sherlock, Noel McGee.
Subs not used: Brian Collopy, Tommy Barrett, Damien Rushe, David Brooks.
Bookings: Danaher (23), Broughall (58), Scullion (81), Sherlock (63).
Sent off: Sherlock (88).
Longford Town: Craig Hyland; Noel Haverty, Chris Deans, Des Hope, Thomas Crawley; Colm James, Mark Salmon, Keith Gillespie, Alan Kirby (Jamie Duffy 84); Karl Bermingham (Daniel Purdy 46), Gary Shaw.
Subs not used: Paul Hunt, Michael Lee, Jeff Flood, Sean Skelly, Craig Walsh.
Bookings: Salmon (70).
Referee: Phil Caschera (Dublin)
extratime.ie man of the match: Keith Gillespie (Longford Town): A player who has been instrumental for the Town. A special mention has to go to Gary Shaw who was also terrific.