Republic of Ireland manager Martin O’Neill praised the second half efforts of his side, as they came from a goal ...Sun, Jun 11 2017
A hat-trick from David O’Sullivan saw Longford Town pick up their first win of the season at the expense of midlands rivals Athlone Town in the first 'El Clasico' of the season.
Coming into the game, Athlone had two wins from two while Longford had drawn with Shelbourne in their opening game before to Cobh Ramblers. Longford manager Alan Mathews wanted a reaction from his side following that loss to Ramblers and he got just that.
Athlone did squander a few chances but Stephen Walsh was a rock in the heart of the Longford defence as he helped his side keep a clean sheet.
Up front David O’Sullivan was his usual busy self and took his hat-trick very well. After missing a penalty in the first game against Shelbourne, he was delighted to finally find the back of the net.
His first goal came after 14 minutes when Gavin Boyne’s backheel fell nicely to the Wicklow lad and he made no mistake to score his first goal of the season.
Three minutes from the break, O’Sullivan got his and his side’s second goal when he powerfully headed home Mark Langtry’s corner from the right.
And it didn’t take O’Sullivan long to claim the matchball when three minutes into the second half Jake Kelly’s cross was volleyed across the goal by Langtry and he was on hand to slam the ball to the net.
The game was over for Athlone then and despite having a few chances after that they didn’t create much to trouble Town netminder Paul Skinner. Longford also had opportunities but failed to convert them.
After a quiet opening, in which the visitors enjoyed most of the possession, it was the home side that had the first chance. Jason Lyons' cross fell nicely to Conor Barry but he somehow made a mess of his effort and put the ball wide.
That proved costly as a minute later Longford broke the deadlock. Barry came close again for the home side in the 31st minute and then three minutes later Jose Viegas missed a chance to draw his side level.
Down the other end Longford showed them how to finish when just before the break O’Sullivan doubled his side’s advantage, and when O’Sullivan netted a third goal three minutes after the changeover and there looked no way back for Athlone.
The goal stirred Athlone and they tried to find a way to get back into the game. Viegas shot straight at Skinner in the 58th minute. Skinner denied Lyons minutes later while Kirlis Grigorovs should’ve done better with his low shot that just went inches wide of the far post.
Skinner saved from substitute Jason Molloy in the 70th minute as the home side kept piling on the pressure. The Longford defence though held firm as they tried to keep their goal intact.
Longford had a few chances but they couldn’t add to their tally as they picked up their first three points of the season and earned the bragging rights for a few weeks, at least.
Athlone Town: Igors Labuts; Frederico Hernandez (Jason Molloy 53), Kirilis Grigorovs, Cormac Raftery, David Brookes; Niall Scullion, Dragog Sfrijan, Colm Coss, Jose Viegas (Sean McGrane 90); Jason Lyons, Conor Barry (Aaron Brilly 90).
Subs not used: Conor Gleeson, Ian Dempsey, Peter Walsh, Ryan Gaffey.
Longford Town: Paul Skinner; Aidan Friel, Daniel O’Reilly, Stephen Walsh, Mark Langtry; Dean Zambra; Dylan McGlade (Cody Mulhall 84), Kevin O’Connor (Kealan Dillon 46), Gavin Boyne, Jake Kelly (Enda Curran 62); David O’Sullivan.
Subs not used: Jack Brady (gk), Tristan Noack Hofmann, Karl Chambers, Ian Fletcher.
Booked: Enda Curran (74)
Referee: Andrew Mullally.
Attendance: 380 (official).
Extratime.ie Player of the Match: David O’Sullivan (Longford Town).