A gutsy and spirited performance earned SD Galway a deserved point against the league leaders Longford Town on Friday night in Terryland Park.
On the balance of play the Galway side may have felt disappointed that they didn’t claim a win having created a number of chances but they didn’t force Town keeper Craig Hyland into making any real saves of note.
It was probably the Town’s worse display of the season so far. They had started off well and opened the scoring on seven minutes but after that they allowed Galway to get a hold of proceedings and they controlled the game until half-time. They smothered Town’s threat in midfield and that was crucial.
Town were aggrieved with the way Galway were able to get back into the game five minutes after the break; Enda Curran went to ground when he tangled for a ball in the box. Referee Ralph Pieper who was just yards away from play signalled a free out but a few seconds later he was called over by his linesman. After some consultation he decided to over-rule his own decision and award a penalty. Curran stepped up and made no mistake with the spot-kick.
The visitors huffed and puffed to try and get a second goal and the introduction of Austin Skelly, in particular, gave them some impetus but the delivery into the box was poor at times. Galway had chances to nick it near the end but didn’t really create anything to trouble Hyland.
It had all started so well for the Town. Seven minutes had gone on the clock when they broke the deadlock; Daniel Purdy’s cross from the left was met by the diving head of defender Noel Haverty.
In the 16th minute Mark Salmon’s curling effort was deflected out for a corner. Minutes later Purdy had a chance but he shot straight at Liam Grant.
As the half wore on the home side gradually got into the game and forced a number of corners. In the 26th minute Tommy Bradshaw’s corner found Curran but his header was deflected out for another corner. Defender Brian Geraghty also had a chance but his effort was cleared.
Salmon should’ve done better in the 32nd minute; shooting wide after a ball in from Purdy. Geraghty decided to try his luck from distance soon after but Hyland was able to gather.
Buoyed up by their first half performance the home side started the second half brightly. Michael Gilmore put a decent cross into the box within minutes of the resumption but there was no-one there to connect with it.
Then disaster struck for the Town when the referee decided to change his original decision of a free out for the Town when Curran went to ground in the box when going for a ball and instead he awarded Galway a penalty. Curran scored from the spot and suddenly it was game. Soon after Purdy curled his shot just inches wide.
Town manager Tony Cousins decided to ring the changes and introduced Keith Gillespie, Skelly and Jamie Duffy. These players made an impact. In the 74th minute Skelly’s pinpoint cross fell to Duffy who in turn played a neat ball into the box but it was cut out by Eric Browne.
Des Hope was unlucky minutes later when he headed wide from Thomas Crawley’s cross. Gilmore had an effort in the 87th minute but he shot wide. Both sides went chasing for a winner in the closing stages but couldn’t muster up anything.
In the end it was a great point for Galway but the Town will be disappointed because they know they can do a lot better.
SD Galway: Liam Grant; Nicky Curran, Brian Geraghty (Cian Fadden 66), Eric Browne, Tommy Bradshaw; Ronan Conlon, Michael Harty, Eugene Greaney, Michael Gilmore; Enda Curran, Mike Tierney.
Subs not used: Luke McConnell, Oscar Sibanda, Eduardo Dusi, Willie Enubele, James Keane.
Bookings: Harty (44), Bradshaw (60), E Curran (80), Greaney (85).
Longford Town: Craig Hyland; Noel Haverty (Keith Gillespie 61), Chris Deans, Des Hope, Thomas Crawley; Mark Salmon, Colm James, Alan Kirby; Karl Bermingham, Gary Shaw (Jamie Duffy 72), Daniel Purdy (Austin Skelly 65)
Subs not used: Paul Hunt, Graham Dowling, Michael Lee, Sean Skelly.
Bookings: A Skelly (80), Salmon (80).
Referee: Ralph Pieper (Limerick).
extratime.ie Man of the Match: Michael Gilmore (SD Galway).