Longford Town -v- Mervue UnitedSat, Aug 18 2012
A month ago a visit from the second bottom team to Flancare Park would be considered by most punters as a home banker, and though Town are still heavily favoured by the bookies to prevail Longford fans will approach the game with much apprehension after seeing their side win only one in their last six league outings.
Last weekend’s surprise defeat at home to Finn Harps has seen them slip to six points behind leaders Limerick FC, and in need of a victory at home to Mervue United to arrest their stuttering form since the resumption of the league after the mid-season break.
The lack of a scoring threat has been Tony Cousins problem of late with his team having found the net only four times in the last six league games, with three of these coming in the victory over bottom club SD Galway. Teenage striker Daniel Purdy has been showing his more experienced colleagues the way, bagging three out of the four goals.
Town will be without defender Noel Haverty, who had to be stretchered from the pitch in last week’s defeat with a broken elbow, and will join Jeff Flood and Austin Skelly in missing the must-win encounter.
Mervue briefly showed signs that they were ready to challenge the group of teams above them and claim a mid-table finish but last week’s defeat to SD Galway will have given their cross-city rivals renewed hope that they overhaul their neighbours.
Johnny Glynn will no doubt have painful memories of his team throwing away a three goal lead the last time these teams met, eventually losing by the odd score in a nine goal thriller. He can however take heart by how they totally outplayed the Midlanders in the first half of the game.
Speaking to the club website Glynn warned his players that Longford will be keen to atone for last week’s defeat to Finn Harps:
"Games this season against Longford have been eventful to say the least and we are making a habit of meeting the tops teams after they have been beaten the previous week, so we can expect a backlash from Longford. It is also the first game of the last round so we will be looking to start well and put in a good finish to the league campaign".
Shane Keogh will return from injury having missed the last four games but Gary Kelly is a doubt with a shoulder injury and did not train all week while Dan Cunningham, Alex Lee and Cian McBrien will also miss the game as they are unavailable. Injuries continue to keep Martin Conneely (ankle ligaments), Kenny Farrell (ankle) and midfielder Alan Murphy (ankle) on the sidelines.
Referee: James McKell
The last meeting between the teams ended 5-4 in Longford’s favour with Mervue having Tom King and Pat Hoban red carded when both had scored earlier in the game.
Mervue have conceded the most goals on their travels in the league with 14, while Longford are the second highest scorers at home with 22.
Pat Hoban has scored twice against Longford in the two previous meetings between the sides this season including a penalty in each encounter.
Longford Town 2/5, Draw 3/1, Mervue United 13/2
Longford Town 1-0 Mervue United
Longford Town Injury News: Noel Haverty, Jeff Flood, Austin Skelley
Longford Town Suspension News: None
Mervue United Injury News: Martin Coneely, Kenny Farrell, Alan Murphy. Gary Kelly (doubtful). Unavailable: Dan Cunningham, Alex Lee, Cian McBrien
Mervue United Suspension News: None