LONGFORD TOWN 3 ATHLONE TOWN 1
The latest instalment of 'EL Classico' ended in victory for Longford Town over Athlone Town at the City Calling Stadium last Saturday night with a routine win for the home team.
Athlone had quickly cancelled out a Longford goal but still trailed at half time. The victory was sealed early in the second half as the visitors failed to trouble goalkeeper Lee Steacy after the break.
Having lost two games on the trot, Longford were anxious to get back to winning ways. The first chance came on five minutes. Dean Zambra set up Aaron Dobbs but Athlone goalkeeper Aaron Myles reacted well to save at his near post. The first corner kick was earned by Longford soon after.
The scoring was opened on the quarter hour mark. Athlone defender Ciaran Grogan was penalised for a push on Sam Verdon in the box. There was little doubt about the decision as Athlone were penalised for the third game in a row. On this occasion, Myles could not come to the rescue as Verdon sent the keeper the wrong way with the spot kick.
Athlone were back on level terms within two minutes as the hosts seemed to switch off having taken the lead. A good move saw Aaron Brilly set up Dean Williams who found the net from inside the six yard box. It was the only high point in the game from an Athlone perspective.
The home team then proceeded to dominate and regained the lead. Aodh Dervin fired over but a corner kick on 31 minutes saw Longford score. Zambra's corner delivery was not cleared and Dean Byrne took advantage, scoring with a shot on the turn. A further corner followed with the woodwork rescuing Athlone on 38 minutes. Josh Hogan was booked after committing a foul. Anto Breslin fired the resulting free kick against the bar with the keeper beaten. Verdon ended the action in the first half when firing wide.
The second half was a stroll as Longford eased to victory. Athlone responded with just two corner kicks as goalkeeper Steacy was idle for long periods. The woodwork again came to Athlone's rescue in the first action once play resumed. Verdon tried his luck from the left with a curling effort which hit the post. Paul O’Connor was almost in to force home the rebound but allowed Myles to gather the loose ball.
The Athlone keeper further denied Byrne but the home striker stretched the lead after 53 minutes. Byrne made space on the edge of the penalty area to fire to the net with a low strike. Athlone's response came from a corner kick which saw Kaleem Simon fire off target. A further corner later on was the sum total of the visiting danger. Further home chances saw Verdon off target with two attempts on goal. Substitute Karl Chambers had the last chance in stoppage time but fired just wide of the far post.
Athlone remain in the bottom two while Longford are up to second.