Jamie Duffy 18' -
Jamie Duffy’s first half goal was enough to give First Division leaders Longford Town their 10th league win in 12 games but they were made work hard for it by bottom side SD Galway.
Duffy got onto the end of Town keeper Craig Hyland’s long kick-out in the 18th minute to head past the advancing SD keeper Liam Grant. It was the midfielder’s first goal for the club since his return at the start of the season.
But instead of creating the chances to try and add to the goal the Town struggled to get a grasp on proceedings and as the half wore on it was the visitors who took control and created several goalscoring opportunities but were thwarted by Hyland in the Town goals.
In a rather scrappy opening it was the visitors who had the early chances; Enda Curran forcing two saves out of Hyland inside the opening 10 minutes.
Town began to come into the game and forced two corners in quick succession; in the 10th minute Gary Shaw flicked the ball into the path of Duffy but his shot was deflected out for a corner by Eric Browne. Keith Gillespie’s corner found the head of Des Hope but his effort was headed off the line by Cian Fadden; the second corner came to nothing.
In the 16th minute Curran threatened again; Alan Kirby lost possession and the ball was picked up by Mike Tierney, he played the ball into Curran who decided to take a shot but the danger was cleared by Hope.
Two minutes later and the deadlock was broken; Hyland’s long kick-out caught everyone but Duffy by surprise and he headed home. It was all Longford after that but they failed to create anything really of note.
11 minutes before the break the game livened up with chances for both sides. Shaw should’ve doubled the Town’s advantage in the 34th minute; the striker got onto a long ball over the top but unfortunately for him his shot was off-target.
Down the other end Browne forced Hyland into making a fine save. In the 38th minute the Town netminder made two good saves in quick succession; Ronan Conlon’s free from the left was punched away by the keeper, it fell to Luke McConnell but Hyland did well to push the ball out for a corner.
Four minutes after the interval Keith Gillespie was unlucky not to grab his first goal for the club. The midfielder has been in outstanding form and the goal would’ve been just reward for him. In the 64th minute Shaw forced Grant into making a save with a snapshot from just outside the box.
After his contribution when he came on as a sub in the Town’s previous game in Waterford, Austin Skelly very nearly did it again when he was introduced. Five minutes after he came on the striker was unlucky to see his header from a Gillespie free just go wide.
Hyland pulled off a fantastic save in the 73rd minute to deny Curran from grabbing an equaliser; the striker outmuscled two Town defenders but was thwarted by the reflexes of the Town keeper.
In the 77th minute Kirby squandered the best chance of the game; Mark Salmon did very well to get down to the endline and play the ball back to Kirby who completely missed it when right in front of goals.
Both sides had half-chances in the final few minutes but the Town held on for another win and keep their four point lead at the top of the table.
Longford Town: Craig Hyland; Noel Haverty, Jeff Flood, Des Hope, Thomas Crawley; Jamie Duffy (Colm James 69), Keith Gillespie, Mark Salmon, Alan Kirby; Karl Bermingham (Michael Lee 84), Gary Shaw (Austin Skelly 65).
Subs not used: Paul Hunt, Chris Deans, James O’Brien, Daniel Purdy.
Bookings: Noel Haverty (45+2).
SD Galway: Liam Grant; Eugene Greaney, Cian Fadden, Eric Browne, Tommy Bradshaw; Michael Tierney (James Whelan 77), Ronan Conlon (Charlie Burke 87), Willie Enubele (Gerry Dolan 87), Luke McConnell, Timmy Molloy; Enda Curran.
Subs Not Used: Ronan Burke, David Meehan, Brian Geraghty.
Bookings: Enubele (42), E Browne (45+2), McConnell (68).
Referee: Sean Grant (Wexford).
Attendance: 250 (estimate).
extratime.ie Man of the Match: Craig Hyland (Longford Town): The young netminder pulled off a string of excellent saves to keep his goal intact. Keith Gillespie also put in another fantastic performance.