Four red cards were produced last Friday night as Athlone Town beat local rivals Longford Town. The winning goal came after 16 minutes as Frantz Pierrot continued his amazing scoring streak. The visitors were reduced to 10 men just after the hour mark. An explosive ending saw three more dismissals as Longford manager Stephen Henderson followed Kyle O’Connor down the tunnel. Home goalkeeper Vlad Velikin had also seen red in the final minute.

Athlone were on top in the opening half and should have had a more comfortable lead at the break. First chance on three minutes saw a Jamar Campion-Hinds shot from the left pushed over the bar by Jack Brady for the opening corner kick. Longford earned their first corner soon after but it was one of the few times the home defence was under any pressure. Another Athlone corner saw Campion-Hinds fire wide with Pierrot then denied by the keeper. The winner arrived on 16 minutes as the pace of Campion–Hinds unhinged the Longford defensive cover.

The cross into the penalty box was missed by goalkeeper and centre half allowing the lurking Pierrot to fire to the net. Aaron Connolly came close to doubling the lead moments later but Brady did well to push away his shot. Jamal Ibrahim had a shot saved as Longford tried to mount a response. There were few further chances up to half time. Athlone’s Haji Abdikadir had a left wing cross collected by the keeper with Brady also denying the same player when saving his shot. Connolly was wide with another free for Athlone with a home corner completing the action in the half.

The second half proved to be more competitive as Longford showed greater attacking intent. Two early corners for the visitors was followed by a third just before the hour mark. Adam Lennon had a chance for Athlone with Aodh Dervin having a shot saved as the half remained delicately balanced. The game was to turn the host’s way after 64 minutes when Longford were reduced to ten men after Dervin picked up a second yellow card. Athlone did not take advantage of the extra man and a Campion-Hinds shot which was deflected behind for a corner and a Patrick Hickey header which was saved, was as close as they came to adding to their goal tally. Pierrot headed over in the penultimate minute, but there was a fiery ending to the derby with three sending offs in the closing stages.

Firstly, Velikin saw red for pushing over a Longford player following a corner. There were two further dismissals in stoppage time as O’Connor was red carded for a foul on Campion-Hinds with Henderson also dismissed from the dugout.

Athlone were again in action on Monday night when third placed Bray Wanderers were the visitors. A second win in four days saw the Town leapfrog the Wicklow outfit. Connolly handed the hosts a half time lead as second half goals from Lennon and Campion-Hinds sealed victory.


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