Athlone Town suffered a heavy defeat in the final league instalment of the midlands derby at home last Friday night.
Longford Town had the win all but secured when they led by three goals to nil at half time. A dreadful start by Terry Butler’s men saw them behind after just two minutes. It got worse as the visitors added on two more goals by the midway point of the half. It ended the scoring until late in the second half when three more goals were added, two to Longford and one to Athlone.
Athlone went into early arrears from the first action of the game. An attack down the right saw Shane Elworthy deliver a cross into the penalty area. The ball was blocked but Aodh Dervin pounced to fire a low shot from the edge of the penalty area past the goalkeeper’s left. Three corner kicks were then earned by the visitors and the pressure paid off with a second goal on 14 minutes.
Dean Byrne picked out Anto Breslin on the left with a lovely crossfield ball. The number three raced clear to fire past Aaron Myles. The game was all but ended as a contest when Longford scored for a third time after 22 minutes play. It was a disaster as Longford punished Athlone when in possession. Shane Dunne was robbed by Sam Verdon after failing to control a throw out. The ball was rolled to the unmarked Sean Boyd who tapped home for a soft score.
With the points all but secured, Longford eased up for the remainder of the half. Athlone earned their first corner after 25 minutes but seldom troubled Lee Steacy in the Longford goal before the break. Janabi Amour did have a chance late in the half but it soon disappeared when the new signing delayed in shooting. Longford were well in command then when the half time whistle sounded.
Athlone were much improved when play resumed and at least gave Longford more of a challenge. Boyd had the first chance for Longford while Amour replied by shooting at the keeper. Half time substitute Evan Pierce then had a number of chances to reduce the deficit. Dunne’s shot was blocked into Pierce’s path but the shot was screwed wide. Another Athlone sub Kealan Dillon also had a shot saved. Pierce then failed to connect with an inviting cross and was out of luck on two further occasions.
There was a dramatic ending to the game with three more goals in the closing stages. Longford made it 4-0 when Peter Hopkins was on hand to drill a loose ball to the roof of the net. A minute later Athlone finally scored when Dillon intercepted a loose pass and beat the keeper with a low shot.
The scoring ended on the stroke of full time. Dillon was adjudged to have fouled Byrne and Verdon made no mistake with the resulting spot kick.
The teams meet again at the weekend in the FAI Cup in Longford.