League of Ireland First Division
Date: 7:45 p.m. March 23, 2013
Venue: Finn Park
Ref: Ray Harvey
Att: 723

Kevin McHugh 22' - Goal



Finn Harps 1 - 0 Longford Town

Sat, Mar 23 2013

Kevin McHugh struck his third goal in two games to end Longford Town’s 100 percent start to the new season as Finn Harps leapfrogged the midlanders at the top of the First Division standings at Baltic Finn Park on Saturday night.

 

The Harps striker, who scored twice in the 4-1 win over Cobh Ramblers last week, netted the only goal of the game in a meeting of two of the league’s unbeaten sides prior to the weekend’s matches.

 

An action-packed second half, which yielded a staggering eight yellow cards, saw both sides create a series of chances but they failed to capitalise as Peter Hutton’s side joined Mervue United at the summit of the second tier after the third game-week.

 

Harps, who have yet to play an unchanged side in successive games, made one change from the side that crushed Cobh last Friday – Aaron O’Hagan called into the fray at the expense of Paul McVeigh, who had been suffering from a bug earlier in the week.

 

Sean McCarron passed a late fitness test to start alongside McHugh but the striker failed to add to his early season tally of three goals.

 

Longford, meanwhile, made two changes to the side that defeated Waterford last week with Noel Haverty and Colm James coming into the starting line-up in place of Corie Tracey and Etanda Nkololo.

 

Haverty’s involvement didn’t last too long, however, after the full-back sustained an elbow injury inside the first ten seconds of the action.

 

Nkololo was catapulted into the action and within 10 minutes the visitors made a second change, with John O’Hanlon replacing Michael Isichei, who wasn’t able to continue after going over on his ankle.

 

It took both sides some time to get to grips with the uncompromising wind that enveloped the ground throughout.

 

The corner count at half-time – 5-1 to Longford – might’ve suggested the away side had the better of the play in the first half but it wasn’t a true reflection, rather an indication of which way the wind blew.

 

The hosts had the first real chance of the game on 14 minutes when Michael Funston's cross was only half cleared as far as O'Hagan, who controlled before firing a half-volley with his weaker left foot just wide of the target.

 

Former Manchester United and Newcastle winger Keith Gillespie, employed in a more central role, had a similar effort at the other end but, like his counterpart, failed to hit the target.

 

Harps then broke the deadlock, somewhat against the run of play, midway through the opening half, following a vintage bit of hold-up play from veteran front-man McHugh.

 

The striker picked up possession on the edge of the area before turning his marker and firing into the bottom corner with his left foot. 

 

Longford responded decently but only really threatened from set-piece situations and on one occasion from a Harps mistake.

 

O’Hanlon saw a header from an Nkololo corner cleared off the line from the well-positioned Matthew Crossan before the latter raced onto a wayward pass from Keith Cowan. The winger managed to evade Crossan but failed to trouble Ciaran Gallagher with his under-hit shot across goal.

 

Longford were a little unfortunate not to get back on level terms inside a minute of the restart after winning a free 25 yards from goal.

 

Cowan was booked for his involvement and from the subsequent set-piece, Gillespie rattled the top of the crossbar before David O'Sullivan headed the rebound aimlessly over the top. 

 

Minutes later and a mix-up between Gallagher and Cowan almost gift-wrapped O’Hanlon a certain equaliser but the Harps duo managed to clear their lines to spare any embarrassment.

 

The game then threatened to spill over following an over-the-top lunge by Gillespie on Cowan, which saw the Longford player booked, when the hosts felt it merited more.

 

Harps, though, soon began to exert more of an attacking threat, with McCarron unlucky not to find the top corner after cutting in from the left, while an inviting free-kick from Brolly caused the Longford rearguard all sorts of problems but a string of inrushing Harps players failed to make the appropriate connection to divert it home.

 

The midlanders were then left feeling aggrieved when McMonagle hauled down O’Sullivan on the edge of the box with just over 20 minutes to go.

 

The Longford players appealed that the foul took place inside the area but the referee said it occurred outside it and from the resulting delivery their anger wasn’t pacified as Brian McCarthy had a headed goal ruled out for infringement on a defender. 

 

Longford threw everything at the home side in the closing stages but Hutton’s side stood tall to ensure their unbeaten run continues after a tricky run of opening fixtures.

 

Finn Harps: Ciaran Gallagher; Damien McNulty, Keith Cowan, Thomas McMonagle, Matthew Crossan; Michael Funston, Aaron O’Hagan (Thomas Bonner 84), Shaun McGowan, Marc Brolly (Paul McVeigh 80); Kevin McHugh, Marc Brolly. 
Subs not used: James Doherty, Mark Forker, Johnny Bonner, Michéal Doherty, Shaun Patton.

Bookings: Cowan (46), McCrossan (65), McHugh (70), Funston (72), McGowan (86), McCarron (90).

 

Longford Town: Chris Bennion; Noel Haverty (Etanda Nkololo 5), Brian McCarthy, William McDonagh, Willie Tyrell; Colm James, Keith Gillespie, Mark Salmon, Daniel Purdy (David O'Neill 79); David O’Sullivan, Michael Isichei (Josh O'Hanlon 14). 
Subs not used: Chris Deans, Gary Cronin, Gavin Doyle, Paul Hunt.

Bookings: Gillespie (58), McCarthy (86).

 

Referee: Rob Harvey.

Attendance: 723

Extratime man of the match: Kevin McHugh (Finn Harps).  
 

 



Finn Harps
Ciaran Gallagher
Goalkeeper
Damien McNulty
Defender
Thomas McMonagle
Defender
Matthew Crossan
65Booked: 65'
Defender
Keith Cowan
46Booked: 46'
Defender
Aaron O'Hagan
79'
79Subbed Off: 79'
Midfielder
Shaun McGowan
86Booked: 86'
Midfielder
Michael Funston
72Booked: 72'
Midfielder
Marc Brolly
80'
80Subbed Off: 80'
Midfielder
Kevin McHugh
22Scored: 22'
70Booked: 70'
Forward
Sean McCarron
90Booked: 90'
Forward

Substitutes
Paul McVeigh
80'
80Subbed On: 80'
Forward
Mark Forker
Midfield
Michael Doherty
Midfield
James Doherty
Defender
Jonny Bonner
Midfield
Thomas Bonner
79'
79Subbed On: 79'
Midfield
Shaun Patton
Goalkeeper
Longford Town
Chris Bennion
Goalkeeper
Willie Tyrell
Defender
54Booked: 54'
William McDonagh
Defender
Brian McCarthy
Defender
86Booked: 86'
Noel Haverty
Defender 5'
5Subbed Off: 5'
Mark Salmon
Midfielder
Daniel Purdy
Midfielder 79'
79Subbed Off: 79'
Colm James
Midfielder
Keith Gillespie
Midfielder
58Booked: 58'
David O'Sullivan
Forward
Michael Isichei
Forward 14'
14Subbed Off: 14'

Substitutes
David O'Neill
Midfield
79Subbed On: 79'
79'
Josh O'Hanlon
Midfield
14Subbed On: 14'
14'
Etanda N'kololo
Forward
5Subbed On: 5'
5'
Paul Hunt
Goalkeeper
Gavin Doyle
Forward
Chris Deans
Defender
Gary Cronin
Unknown


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