Former Longford Town player Tom King came back to haunt his old club when he grabbed a last gasp winner for Mervue United who sprang a surprise in the First Division clash at Fahy’s Field on Monday night last.
King got on to the end of Rory Gaffney’s pass to shoot past Town keeper Paul Hunt with virtually the last kick of the game. Town will wonder how they didn’t get something from this fixture but their failure to put away chances proved costly while they were also denied a number of times in the first half by the excellent Mervue keeper TJ Forde.
It wasn’t a great night all round for the Town as they were hit by injuries to key players both before and during this game. Austin Skelly failed a late fitness test and Cathal Brady missed out with a hamstring injury. Craig Walsh sustained a knock in the game and had to be replaced while Jacques Morley was forced to retire with an ankle injury that will rule him out for a number of weeks.
The Town dominated the possession in the first half and carved out numerous scoring opportunities. Forde pulled off an excellent save in the 7th minute to deny Keith Gillespie who got his head to a Craig Walsh free-kick but the Mervue keeper did very well to keep his net intact.
The busy Forde kept his side in the game on more than one occasion. In the 27th minute Don Cowan went racing into the box but his shot from a tight angle was saved by Forde.
The Town went so close to breaking the deadlock in the 32nd minute. Niall O’Reilly’s cross from the right was met by the head of Lee Roche whose goalbound effort was superbly saved by Forde who pushed the ball around the post.
10 minutes into the second half and totally against the run of play, Mervue scored with their first real chance of the game. Tom King’s cross from the right met the head of Rory Gaffney and while Town keeper Paul Hunt made an excellent save the breaking ball fell straight to Gaffney and he made no mistake at the second attempt.
Longford piled on the pressure in search of an equaliser and their perseverance was rewarded in the 70th minute when Lee Roche’s cross from the right was finished to the net by Mark Salmon.
Near the end the Town had claims for a penalty turned down by referee Kevin O’Regan after Martin Conneely bundled over substitute Daniel O’Reilly in the box while Lee Roche was unlucky with his effort from O’Reilly’s cross one minute later.
A share of the spoils seemed certain but in the final seconds Tom King struck for the winning goal, a real sickening blow for Longford Town in their push for promotion.
MERVUE UNITED: TJ Forde; Nicky Curran, Martin Conneely, James Casserley, Dan Cunningham; Tom King, John Mountney, Noel Varley, Mike Tierney, Rory Gaffney, David Goldbey.
Subs: - Kevin Crehan for Curran (half-time); Jason Molloy for Tierney (74 mins).
LONGFORD TOWN: Paul Hunt; Niall O’Reilly, Chris Deans, Des Hope, Gary Cronin; Jacques Morley, Mark Salmon, Keith Gillespie, Craig Walsh; Don Cowan, Lee Roche.
Subs:- Aidan Roche for Morley (injured, 45 mins); Thomas Hyland for Walsh (injured, 60 mins); Daniel O’Reilly for Cowan (88 mins).
Referee: Kevin O’Regan (Kerry).