Longford Town's first game under new management ended in a narrow 1-0 defeat to St. Patrick Athletic’s on a lovely summer's evening at City Calling stadium.
Longford had drawn their last two home games and there seemed to be an air of relief from the Longford fans around the stadium now that Tony Cousins has departed.
Caretaker manager Gary Cronin went for an attacking line up with Kaleem Simon, Don Cowan and Eddie Dsane in a three-pronged attack, much to the delight of the Longford faithful.
When the game started there was a lot of endeavour from both side with lots of midfield battling and defences on top.
As the first half wore on, misplaced passes and robust tackles were in abundance. Paul Skinner with some terrible clearances going into touch and some not even making it as far as the half-way line. And the St. Pats defenders were making life difficult for the left-footed Conor O’Malley by providing many back passes to his right hand side.
Sean Hoare was lucky not to find himself in referee Hennessey’s notebook with persistent fouling, the last of which was a blatant hack on Dsane after good link up play with Kaleem Simon.
Just after the half hour mark The Town were awarded a free just outside their box. Skinner took the resulting free and it was flicked on by Gais Makouta to Kaleem Simon whose superb lob came back off the bar and back into play. This was the best bit of play in a very dull first half.
In injury time at the end of the half Longford Town had the ball is in the Pats net. A great run by Dsane from midfield and he played a through ball to Kaleem Simon who finished exquisitely over the onrushing O’Malley but the flag was up for offside.
Pats started the second half with some nice possession but the Longford rear guard looked after any forays into the final third. Soon enough though the game resumed the pattern of the first half with lots of huff and puff but lacking quality. Some of the shooting was so wayward that four balls had gone missing in the car park and the land next to the ground.
The game became a bit frantic with some unsavoury late challenges and Makouta saw yellow and Dsane was lucky not to get another booking clattering into Rory Feeley.
Mark Timlin came on for Stephen Kinsella with 55 minutes gone and this change proved to be a masterstroke by Liam Buckley.
Pats had to replace the injured Rory Feely and despite have a few minutes of treatment St Pats didn’t have the substitute ready so they had to play on with ten men after Feely left the pitch. Eventually Darren Dennehy came on for the stricken Feely.
St.Pat’s were given a free on the egde of the box for a late challenge on Jamie McGrath by Noel Haverty and Timlin scored the game’s only goal direct from the free kick into the corner of Skinners net.
Longford made a change to try and get back into the game with Kealan Dillon coming on for Makouta. Fagan found a couple of half chances come his way to make the game 2-0 to Pats but failed to capitalise on them and he was replaced by Dinny Corcoran.
Both Teams were still battling for the win and we had time for one more change with Jamie Mulhall coming off and Rhys Gorman going on.
In the end Longford lacked the quality in the final third and this has been their achilles heel all season. Pats can be happy with back to back victories but they were also poor overall.
Longford Town: Paul Skinner; Noel Haverty, Conor Powell, Yann Mvita, Phillip Gannon; Kevin O’Connor, Jamie Mulhall (Rhys Gorman 87) , Gais Makouta (Kealan Dillon 68); Kaleem Simon, Eddie Dsane, Don Cowan.
Subs not used: Ian Molloy, Tristan Noack-Hoffman, Pat Flynn, Karl Chambers, Mark Hughes.
Booked: Eddie Dsane (43), Gaius Makouta (55).
St. Patrick’s Athletic: Conor O’Malley; Sean Hoare, Rory Feeley (Darren Dennehey 65), Michael Barker, Ian Bermingham; Conan Byrne, Stephen Kinsella (Mark Timlin 55 ), Lee Desmond, Graham Kelly, Jamie McGrath ; Christy Fagan (Dinny Corcoran 88).
Subs not used: Brendan Clarke, Darragh Markey, Ger O’Brien, Keith Treacy.
Referee: Robert Hennessey .
ExtraTime.ie Player of the Match: Sean Hoare (St.Patrick’s Athletic).