It was a night of firsts in Ferrycarrig Park on Friday night last; Longford Town scored their first league win of the season, both scorers got their first goals for the club and it was the first time since October 9th last year that the Town kept a cleansheet (five league games to be precise).
LEAGUE OF IRELAND FIRST DIVISION - WEXFORD YOUTHS 0 LONGFORD TOWN 2
The new signings that Town manager Tony Cousins has brought in are certainly making a difference. Winger Jacques Morley, who joined the club from Crumlin United, is definitely one player to watch out for and will certainly trouble defences this season. Morley scored the opening goal against Wexford Youths with Don Cowan wrapping up the points with his first goal for the club.
Cowan came to the club on loan from Shamrock Rovers last season and has now made the move permanent. The striker came with lots of promise and it looks like he can fulfil his real potential this season. When Austin Skelly returns from injury, himself and Cowan can form a lethal partnership up front for the Town; something that has been lacking for a number of seasons.
Other key areas the Town have struggled in before have been in defence and with goalkeepers. This season though it seems the problem has been solved. In Alvin Rouse, the Town have their best goalkeeper since Shay Kelly. Although he didn’t have much to do on Friday night in Wexford he looked a commanding figure between the posts and pulled off a fine save near the end.
In the centre of the defence Des Hope looks to have been the missing link for Longford Town in that position. The ex-Athlone player has formed a formidable partnership with Chris Deans and they can only get better as the season progresses. It’s early days but if the Town can cut out silly mistakes then they could have a very good season.
After losing their first game against Shelbourne the previous week, the Town needed a win to boost confidence. From start to finish against Wexford they were in total command of the game even if it did take them a while to break the deadlock.
The swirling wind didn’t help either team and the first half was a rather drab affair. Although the Town held the upper hand, they failed to test the opposing keeper Packie Holden and it was actually Wexford who carved out the best chances just as half-time approached.
First Shane Nolan just failed to connect with Ben Ryan’s cross into the box and seconds later Nolan turned provider in setting up Darragh Walshe but he headed the ball over the bar after being put under pressure by Town defender Des Hope.
Six minutes into the second half, Longford Town took the lead and the creator was winger Cathal Brady who cut into the box from the right and played a terrific pass across the face of the goalmouth. Holden could only parry the ball and it fell to Jacques Morley who made no mistake from close range.
The Town had a chance to double their advantage four minutes later. A cross from the left was met by full-back Graham Dowling but his diving header was tipped over the bar by Holden who produced a fine save.
But the visitors eventually scored a second goal in the 72nd minute. Cathal Brady played the ball into the path of Don Cowan who found the net from about 20 yards out with a superb strike.
From there until the finish, it was all Longford but they were almost caught out in a quick Wexford break in the 81st minute. Substitute Dave Grincell got through the opposing defence, only to be denied by Town keeper Alvin Rouse who came out to make a very smart save in keeping his net intact.
WEXFORD YOUTHS: Packie Holden, Karl Keogh, Anto Russell, Anthony Wolfe, Patsy Malone, Ben Ryan, Craig Wall, Danny Furlong, Darragh Walshe, Shane Nolan, Martin Kehoe.
Subs:- Max Cream for Wall (69 mins); Dave Grincell for Walshe (77 mins); Muzzi Mullen for Ryan (86 mins).
LONGFORD TOWN: Alvin Rouse, Graham Dowling, Michael Lee, Des Hope, Chris Deans, Thomas Hyland, Cathal Brady, Mark Salmon, Don Cowan, Craig Walsh, Jacques Morley.
Subs:- Aidan Roche for Morley (71 mins); Jason Oladele for Cowan (86 mins).
Referee: Jim McKell (Tipperary).