Pat Hoban 19' -
Pat Hoban 25' -
Etanda Nkololo 41' -
Tom King 65' -
Pat Hoban 67' -
Tom King 74' -
Longford Town staged a remarkable comeback in Fahy’s Field when they came from 3-0 down at the break to defeat Mervue United in a nine goal thriller.
It was hard luck on the home side who finished the game with nine men after both goalscorers Pat Hoban and Tom King were sent-off.
There was more drama in this game than an omnibus edition of Eastenders. It was a terrific advertisement for the league. Will Town look back at this game as the defining moment of their season?
The home side started very well and had the first chance on goal in the 2nd minute; Jason Molloy forcing a good save from Craig Hyland.
Five minutes later Town defender Des Hope was caught out, the ball fell to Alan Murphy but his effort sailed over the bar.
Town’s first and only chance of the opening minutes came in the 11th minute; Thomas Crawley’s stinging shot was saved by Mervue keeper Conor O’Malley.
Mervue took the lead in the 19th minute; Hoban got the better of both Hope and Chris Deans and was through on goal when he was deemed to have been taken down. Referee Phil Caschera didn’t seem interested in the Mervue appeals for a penalty but the linesman waved his flag. Hoban dusted himself down and made no mistake with the spot-kick.
Hyland was forced into making another fine save in the 24th minute; denying Ethan Nkololo. Two minutes later the home side doubled their lead; Murphy’s shot was parried by Hyland and Hoban made no mistake from close range.
A memorable first half got better four minutes from the break when Nkololo made it 3-0 to the Galway side after receiving the ball from Murphy.
The visitors were completely devoid of ideas and after being out of the game for so long had a chance just before half-time; O’Malley pulling off an excellent save to deny Colly James.
Town manager Tony Cousins decided to make a change at half-time and brought on Alan Kirby for Keith Gillespie. The Waterford man made an impact in the 56th when his free from the left was headed home by debutant Willo McDonagh.
Three minutes later and the Town pulled another goal back when Mark Ludden’s backpass was pounced on by Michael Lee and his shot was put into his own net by the unfortunate Murphy.
Former Town player Tom King restored his side’s two goal advantage in the 65th minute. But Mervue were reduced to 10 men two minutes later when Hoban was shown two yellow cards in quick succession – his second for remonstrating with the ref.
It really was end-to-end stuff and the Town got their third in the 71st minute; Gary Shaw’s low drive was finished to the net by Kirby. Mervue were dealt another blow in the 74th minute when King was sent-off for dissent.
Town tried hard to get an equaliser and in the 90th minute Shaw headed home Kirby’s free. But the drama didn’t end there and deep into stoppage time Town were awarded a penalty after Martin Conneelly was adjudged to have fouled Tony Griffiths in the box. Mark Salmon was left with the pressure kick and he coolly slotted it home to give Town a win that they had scarcely deserved at the break.
Mervue United: Conor O’Malley; James Casserley, Mike Elwood, Martin Conneely, Shane Keogh (Stephen Walsh 76); Etanda Nkololo, Noel Varley, Alan Murphy (Gary Kelly 58), Mark Ludden; Jason Molloy (Tom King 61), Pat Hoban.
Subs not used: Brian O’Donoghue, Alex Lee, Jean Biansumba, Brian Connolly.
Bookings: Molloy (57), Hoban (67), Conneely (90+2).
Sendings Off: Hoban (67), King (74).
Longford Town: Craig Hyland; Noel Haverty (Tony Griffiths 83), Chris Deans, Des Hope (Willo McDonagh 22), Michael Lee; Colly James, Mark Salmon, Keith Gillespie (Alan Kirby 47), Thomas Crawley; Karl Bermingham, Gary Shaw.
Subs not used: Paul Hunt, Craig Walsh, Daniel Purdy, Jamie Duffy.
Bookings: Deans (19), McDonagh (40), James (90+3).
Referee: Phil Caschera.
extratime.ie Man of the Match: Alan Kirby (Longford Town): His introduction changed the game; he scored one and made two.