Finn Harps 2-4 Longford Town
After the encouraging home win over Athlone on Friday night, Finn Harps were brought down to earth as Ollie Horgan’s outfit suffered a disappointing defeat at the hands of Longford Town on Bank Holiday Monday in Ballybofey. In this re-arranged fixture, Harps were poor in the early stages of the first half and were 2-0 down at the break. However, a Paddy McCourt penalty and an equalizer from Mikey Place, his second goal after scoring on his full debut against Athlone, gave the home fans of least securing a share of the spoils.
But the visitors regained the lead almost immediately through Sam Verdon and the impressive Dylan McGlade made sure of the three points with a fourth goal. Overall, Neal Fenn’s side deserved their win and made up the loss to Harps at home earlier in the season.
From a spectators point it was certainly an entertaining encounter with plenty of goalmouth action apart from the six goals. Horgan made one change from the Athlone game with Mark Timlin replacing Mark Coyle in midfield. The defeat means Horgan’s side drops two places in the table to sixth with Galway now ahead of them on goal difference after drawing in Cobh while Longford are now a point above Harps. Just seven points separate the top six teams as the mid-season break approaches.
Aodh Dervin gave the visitors the lead in the fourth minute with a fine finish from Sam Verdon’s assist. The hosts’ best chance of an equalizer fell to Jesse Devers who was unlucky to see his effort deflected wide. But Harps were stunned by the concession of a second goal on 29 minutes when McGlade got on the end of a move that started with keeper Michael Kelly. Despite Ciaran Gallagher getting a touch the ball ended up in the back of the home team’s net again.
Harps were fortunate not to go in 3-0 down at the break as Verdon’s 41st minute strike hit off the inside of the post. Horgan’s men needed a good start to the second half and got it when referee Eoghan O’Shea awarded a penalty following a foul on Devers. And for the second time in 13 days McCourt successfully slotted home the resultant spot-kick.
Devers played a key role in the Harps equaliser on 56 minutes setting up Place who tucked the ball away with admirable composure. Arguably, the key moment of the game came just a minute later when Longford regained the lead. Verdon was allowed too much time to head past Gallagher following a corner that had been returned back into the danger area.
In fairness Harps determinedly attacked in a bid to get back on level terms but it was the impressive McGlade who made sure of the victory for Longford with his second goal of the game.
Sub Niall McGinley did have a decent chance to pull one back but Kelly saved comfortably.
Just at the final whistle Harps player Tommy McBride received a red card. Finn Harps – Ciaran Gallagher, Aidan Friel, Ciaran Coll, Keith Cowan, Sam Todd, Tommy McBride, Mark Timlin (Gareth Harkin 68 mins), Jesse Devers, Paddy McCourt (Dylan McCroary 84 mins), Mikey Place, Ciaran O’Connor (Niall McGinley 70 mins). Not used: Peter Burke (Gk), Gareth Doherty, Mark Hannon, John O’Flynn.
Longford Town – Michael Kelly, Shane Elworthy (Jamie Hollywood 81), Dan O’Reilly, Mick McDonnell, Tristan Hofmann, Dean Zambra,Aodh Dervin, Karl Chambers, Dean Byrne (Chris Mulhall 87), Sam Verdon, Dylan McGlade.
Referee: Eoghan O’Shea.
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