FAI Cup R3
Date: 7:45 p.m. June 6, 2011
Venue: Finn Park
Scored: 82'- Mark Salmon 82'
Against the run of play with Harps looking the most likely to make a breakthrough, Longford were awarded a controversial penalty and despite Ciaran Gallagher getting down well to save Salmon's spot-kick the Town midfielder was quickest to react and he forced home the rebound.
Up to that, Harps had shaded a poor game, in front of one of the poorest crowds of the season at Finn Park. The hosts had a number of good chances in the second-half, after first had come and gone without anything notable in the way of goalmouth action.
But the boys in blue were made pay for their lack of clinical finishing in the final third when Lee Roche was awarded a soft penalty on 82 minutes.
Salmon might have been denied at the first attempt by Gallagher, but he wouldn't be thwarted a second time as he prodded home the match-winner to sink Harps, who were incensed at the penalty award as they trooped off at the conclusion.
There were few surprises in the way of team selection, with Garbhan Friel replacing the suspended Kevin McHugh - sent off in Friday's 0-0 draw between the sides at Flancare Park - in the Harps attack, the former Cockhill man deployed as a lone front man with Marc Brolly just behind him.
The visitors adopted an attack-minded 4-3-3 formation from the off, with just one change in their eleven from Friday's game - Thomas Hyland coming in at the expense of Aidan Roache.
Already minus a few players through injury, Town were dealt a blow just 25 minutes in when striker Austin Skelly was forced off - with what appeared to be a re-occurrence of an old groin injury - and just three minutes later they were further depleted as goalkeeper Alvin Rouse had to depart the action after picking up a knock to the knee. The first meaningful move from either side came in the 44th minute, with Longford threatening from Salmon's threaded ball through the middle to Don Cowan. The Longford striker was a little hesitant, however, and Harps 'keeper Ciaran Gallagher did well to get out and sweep away the danger to conclude what was a dire first-half in the Ballybofey drizzle.
Harps' best opportunity of note came in the seventh minute when they were awarded a free-kick on the edge of the box following a foul by Collins on Friel, but Marc Brolly's kick was well charged down by the Longford wall.
Six minutes into the second-half, Longford carved out a good opening, with Oladele and Cowan combining down the left flank to good effect. Oladele's low cross wasn't dealt with and Lee Roache's subsequent shot slammed off Packie Mailey's head to safety.
It was the ninth minute of part two before Harps managed a shot on goal, Paddy McLaughlin's effort from 30 yards, however, was straight into the arms of Hunt and with a little more urgency now in their approach the home side should have taken a 58th minute lead, but Forker shot tamely wide after being set up by Friel, who took receipt of a superb ball in from the left.
Forker then turned provider for Brolly, but his header failed to trouble the Longford 'keeper and Packie Mailey had a similar outcome when he got his head to a Ciaran Coll corner.
The introduction of Blaine Curtis 16 minutes from time helped add life into the Harps attack. Curtis headed over the bar with his first touch before playing in Forker with his next, but the Dungloe man shot wide after doing well to step in between two Town defenders.
With the game seeming as if it were heading for an extra period, Harps were hit with a dramatic sucker punch as referee McLaughlin pointed to the spot with Mailey deemed to have fouled Roache and Salmon caught the net to move the midlanders into the next round.
Finn Harps: Ciaran Gallagher; Paddy McLaughlin, Packie Mailey, Keith Cowan, Ciaran Coll; Mark Forker, Aaron McElwee, Thomas Bonner, Gareth Harkin; Marc Brolly; Garbhan Friel. Sub: Blaine Curtis for Friel (74 mins).
Subs not used: James Doherty, Christy Connaghan, Oisin McMenamin, Aaron O'Hagan, Christopher Patton.
Booked: McElwee (34), Friel (74), McLaughlin (88).
Longford Town: Alvin Rouse; Chris Deans, Des Hope, Paddy Collins, Gary Cronin; Craig Walsh, Thomas Hyland, Mark Salmon; Lee Roache, Austin Skelly, Don Cowan. Subs: Jason Oladele for Skelly (25 mins); Paul Hunt for Rouse (28 mins); Daniel O'Reilly for Cowan (82 mins).
Subs not used: Niall O'Reilly, Aidan Roache, Darren Carberry, Peter Sczcerbowski.
Booked: Collins (7), Walsh (39), Oladele (45), Salmon (72).
Referee: John McLaughlin (Athlone).
extratime.ie Man of the Match: Mark Forker (Finn Harps) - the Harps midfielder was involved in most of Harps' good attacking play and should have been on the winning team.
Attendance: 300 (approx).