Longford Town’s poor record at the RSC in Waterford continued on Friday night last as they suffered away day blues yet again in the First Division of the League of Ireland.
Longford’s record on the road this season has been abysmal. They have only picked up eight points away from home with wins against Wexford Youths and Finn Harps and draws with Cork City and Athlone Town.
The Town have not claimed a win in Waterford since October 2006 and their recent poor run continued as they crashed to another defeat - picking up just one point in their last five league games. They have been hit with injuries and suspensions but their performances haven’t merited any positive results.
On Friday night last it emerged that the Town were going to adapt a 4-3-3 formation but minutes into the game it was obvious that Don Cowan was going to play the lone striker’s role and they came looking for a point. It was very much defence-minded and negative.
On the balance of play the home side deserved the victory. If the Town had come away with a point it would have been rough justice on Waterford but the goal that decided the game in the 73rd minute was a little controversial.
Paul Murphy burst into the box and as he made his way to the endline Town defender Paddy Collins made a clumsy challenge. To the amazement and delight of the Waterford United supporters, Kerry referee Kevin O’Regan pointed to the spot. It was a harsh decision and Murphy duly dispatched the penalty, sending Town keeper Paul Hunt the wrong way.
Murphy should have extended the Waterford advantage in the 83rd minute but his effort came back off the butt off the post.
While the home side dominated the first half they failed to really trouble Town keeper Hunt. Paul Walsh had an effort in the 10th minute but his header from Dwayne Wilson’s cross just went over the bar.
Against the run of play, Town striker Don Cowan forced Blues keeper Burns into making a fine save with his feet in the 17th minute after he was played in by Lee Roche. Waterford should have opened the scoring in the 29th minute. Walsh whipped in a perfect cross from the right but Willie John Kiely’s header from close range just sailed over.
The game improved a little after the break with the home side upping their performance. Nine minutes after the break, out of nothing, the Town came close to opening the scoring but Mark Salmon really should have done better with his effort. Two minutes later Conor Sinnott brought an excellent save out of Town netminder Hunt.
It was all Waterford at this stage as they piled on the pressure. Kenny Browne had a powerful shot blocked on the line by Des Hope in the 61st minute. They continued to press and their dominance paid off in the 73rd minute when the referee adjudged that Collins had brought down Murphy illegally and his powerful spot-kick clinched the win for Waterford.
WATERFORD UNITED: Kevin Burns, Seamus Long, Kenny Browne, Kevin Murray, Michael Coady, Paul Walsh, Conor Sinnott, Gary Dunphy, Dwayne Wilson, Willie John Kiely, Paul Murphy.
Subs:- Gary Keane for Wilson (66 mins); Brian Nolan for Kiely (90 mins).
LONGFORD TOWN: Paul Hunt, Chris Deans, Paddy Collins, Des Hope, Gary Cronin, Cathal Brady, Mark Salmon, Thomas Hyland, Craig Walsh, Don Cowan, Lee Roche.
Subs:- Jack Morley for Brady (63 mins); Alan McGreal for Roche (75 mins); Dan O’Reilly for Walsh (82 mins).
Referee: Kevin O’Regan (Kerry).