Sam Verdon 29' -
Longford Town play host to First Division promotion rivals Drogheda United at the City Calling Stadium in a mammoth First Division clash on the Strokestown Road venue. Kick-Off in the Midlands is at 7.45pm on Friday evening.
As far as big games go for Longford Town, this really feels as if it’s one of them as Neale Fenn’s exuberant, youthful charges will be hoping to lay down the gauntlet to Tim Clancy’s Drogheda United.
With Longford players and supporters still sore from last weekend’s defeat at Stradbrook against Cabinteely, you can be certain that the Red and Black of Longford Town will be looking for a response against a big promotion rival under the lights at the City Calling Stadium.
With the midfield lacking a real creativity and bite against Cabinteely last week, Town supporters will be pleased to hear that local star Aodh Dervin could be back in contention after he missed last weekend’s game due to his Leaving Cert commitments taking precedence.
The goalscorer for Longford the last time these sides met, Dean Byrne, who scored a fantastic goal from thirty yards is a concern for Neale Fenn after the former Hardwicke FC man went off very early on against Cabo with a suspected groin issue.
With injuries beginning to ease off a little for Fenn and his backroom team, it seems as if discipline is becoming a bit of an issue for De Town as they have seen three players being sent off in the last four games - although Chris Mulhall’s red card was overturned on review by the FAI’s disciplinary panel on second viewing.
As a result of recent suspensions, Evan Galvin and Darren Meenan both miss out while Cian Byrne and Alan Kehoe also miss out due to long-term injury complaints.
After last week’s defeat to UCD at the UCD Bowl, Drogheda United boss Tim Clancy will surely be hoping that his side can bounce back from their most recent setback away from home.
Clancy, speaking ahead of Friday night’s game at the City Calling Stadium, said that he is confident of his side bouncing back in the grand manner in the Midlands against Neale Fenn’s attack minded side.
“We were second best on the evening,” Clancy said when speaking on the UCD game.
“You have to give UCD credit in that they played very well but we definitely helped them with some bad decisions both on and off the ball.
“It was a disappointing result as we could’ve gone top with a win. With that being said, we’re still in a really good position in the league and I’m confident we’ll show the right reaction tomorrow night.”
Last time these sides met, it was Drogheda who broke Longford Town hearts very late on as Ciaran Kelly’s last-minute strike secured an unlikely point for the Boynesiders at United Park.
With that game still fresh in the memory, Clancy has noted that he is expecting a very tough encounter against De Town at the Strokestown Road venue as both sides will be looking to bounce from recent disappointments last weekend.
“Obviously they’ll be annoyed to have lost to Cabinteely last week, but they were in great form beforehand, beating Galway and Finn Harps.
“I’ve had the chance to see a number of their home games this season and they’ve been very resilient.
“As far as we’re concerned, we want to respond from last week’s defeat. After the Finn Harps loss, we won four on the bounce and putting another run like that together will be our aim.”
As far as team news go for Drogheda, Clancy should have a full-strength side to choose from with no injuries or suspensions plaguing the Drogs as they head to the Midlands for the second time this season.
Referee: Marc Lynch.
Drogheda have the best away form in the league so far this season as Tim Clancy’s side have picked up 13 points from a possible 24 on their travels so far this season. Their opponents on Friday night, Longford, are only one point off their Louth counterparts with 12 points.
Drogheda have the best goal difference in the league so far this season with a +20-goal difference. Meanwhile, Neale Fenn’s Longford have a goal difference of +11.
Recently at least, Longford Town have had quite the impressive recent record against Drogheda having gone five years without suffering defeat to the Drogs both home and away.
The Boynesiders last win over Longford came in 2013 as they just about navigated through the challenge of De Town in a 3-2 FAI Cup success at the City Calling Stadium.
Longford Town 11/10; Draw 23/10; Drogheda United 2/1.
Longford Town 2-1 Drogheda United.
Injured: Alan Kehoe, Cian Byrne.
Suspended: Darren Meenan, Evan Galvin.