Finn Harps made it three league wins out of three and in doing so inflicted a first league defeat on First Division leaders Longford Town in Flancare Park on Saturday night.
It had all started so well for the home side; opening the scoring in the 14th minute thanks to an Alan Kirby goal but for all their dominance after that they didn’t create many scoring opportunities. They were made to rue that in the 56th minute when Town keeper Craig
Hyland was sent-off and Harps levelled through a Paul Simon Treacy free-kick.
Thomas McBride put Harps ahead in the 78th minute and one minute into additional time substitute Blain Curtis sealed the win.
The Town took control of the game from an early stage. Although they had plenty of the ball they failed to carve out many chances. Kirby had an early effort but his free was easily gathered by Harps keeper, new signing Rory Kelly.
Kirby was to beat Kelly in the 14th minute; collecting Gary Shaw’s pass the winger beat the offside trap to put the Town 1-0 in front.
After a quiet opening quarter from them, Harps had a chance to draw level in the 17th minute but Hyland did well to dive to his right and push away Adam Clarke’s free. One minute later Town had a chance to double their lead but Michael Lee’s powerful shot came crashing back off the crossbar.
There was no real flow to the game and despite enjoying the majority of possession Longford gave the ball away too easily on a number of occasions. Harps, though, failed to do anything with it.
Three minutes from the break substitute Sean Skelly had a chance for the Town but his cheeky effort went wide. And in first-half stoppage time Harps very nearly drew level when Kevin McHugh’s pinpoint cross met the head of defender Thomas McMonagle, but his effort went just over the bar.
Harps upped their game in the second half and looked dangerous. 13 minutes after the resumption they were on level terms. A slack backpass from Colm James was pounced on by Paul Simon Treacy, Town keeper Hyland went for the ball and appeared to have won it but the referee saw it differently and sent off the young netminder. Keith Gillespie was sacrificed for sub keeper Paul Hunt and his first piece of action was to pick the ball out of the net after Treacy scored from the free.
Suddenly it was game on and Harps were buoyed up by that goal. Longford were completely out of the game and were devoid of ideas. It was Harps who looked like scoring the next goal and that goal came in the 78th minute when Thomas McBride scored with a low drive that appeared to get a slight deflection.
There was still 12 minutes for the home side to try and get back into the game but they failed to test Kelly in the Harps goals. Right at the end Harps got their third when Blain Curtis outmuscled Longford defender Noel Haverty to the ball and made no mistake with his finish.
Longford Town: Craig Hyland; Colm James, Noel Haverty, Chris Deans, Thomas Crawley; Alan Kirby, Mark Salmon (Sean Skelly, 39), Keith Gillespie (Paul Hunt 58), Michael Lee (Daniel Purdy 55); Karl Bermingham, Gary Shaw.
Subs not used: Jeff Flood, Gary Cronin, Craig Walsh, Jamie Duffy.
Bookings: Keith Gillespie (35), Chris Deans (85).
Sent off: Craig Hyland (56).
Finn Harps: Rory Kelly; James Doherty, Peter Hutton (Barry O’Mahony 77), Thomas McMonagle, Ciaran Coll; Adam Clarke, Shaun McGowan, Thomas McBride, Paul Simon Treacy; Tommy Bonner (Blain Curtis 63), Kevin McHugh.
Subs not used: Shaun Patton, Hugh Carlin, Aaron O’Hagan, Matt Harkin.
Bookings: Ciaran Coll (26), Thomas McBride (79).
Referee: Keith Callanan.
Attendance: 300 (estimate).
extratime.ie Man of the Match: Adam Clarke (Finn Harps).