Longford Town’s slim hopes of winning the First Division title are gone after this disappointing defeat to Waterford United on Friday night.
Town knew they had to win in the RSC in order to keep the pressure on leaders Athlone Town. Following this loss they are now in third position, three behind second place Waterford and eight behind Athlone. If performances don’t improve they could end up losing out on a play-off.
For both sides this was their biggest game of the season and while Waterford wanted to play football, Town seemed happier to just sit back and defend.
It looked like Town’s rearguard would not be broken but 13 minutes from time Waterford got the game’s only goal through Vinny Sullivan.
Des Hope set up Gary Shaw for the first chance of the game in the 6th minute but the striker’s shot went wide of Craig Hyland’s left-hand post. In the 17th minute Derek O’Brien went close as his free kick flashed wide.
O’Brien sent in a shot from distance that was well held by Hyland before Danny Furlong beat the offside trap for Waterford’s first chance on 20 minutes but his angled effort was saved by Chris Bennion.
Bennion showed his class to deny the home side in the 32nd minute; Philip Drohan’s superb cross from the left found the head of Furlong but his close range effort was somehow kept out by the Town netminder.
The Blues began to take control as the half drew to a close; Vinny Sullivan went close on 37 minutes as his glancing header went inches wide.
The first chance of the second half fell to Waterford; Town defender Noel Haverty brought down Conor Meade but Ben Ryan’s free found the sidenetting. Blues’ keeper Hyland was called into action on 67 minutes; O’Brien’s cross found the head of Shaw but his header was straight at the keeper.
Waterford breached the visitors’ resolute defence on 77 minutes when Meade slipped the ball to Paul Quilty and he crossed to Sullivan who scored from close range. Although Town did force a couple of late frees, they never troubled Hyland, who was a spectator for the majority of the game.
WATERFORD UNITED: Craig Hyland; Conor Whittle, Dylan Mernagh, Gavin Kavanagh, Paddy Barrett; Ben Ryan, Danny Furlong, Rob McLarney, Philip Drohan, Conor Meade, Vinny Sullivan. Subs: Kevin O’Connor for McLarney (60mins), Paul Quilty for Furlong (68mins).
LONGFORD TOWN: Chris Bennion; Noel Haverty, Des Hope, Corie Tracey, Willie Tyrrell; David O’Neill, Ryan Connolly, Rhys Gorman, Derek O’Brien; David O’Sullivan, Gary Shaw. Subs: Daniel Purdy for O’Neill (63mins), Keith Quinn for Hope (73mins), Josh O’Hanlon for Shaw (76mins).
Referee: Simon Rogers (Dublin).