Cousins in crisis with Longford Town looking like a lost cause

Airtricity League Premier Division - Round 16

Cousins in crisis with Longford Town looking like a lost cause
By deniese o'flaherty

Longford Town remain rooted to the bottom of the Premier Division table and looking like a lost cause following this very disappointing defeat against Finn Harps at City Calling Stadium on Friday night last, which was watched by the dismal official attendance of 351.

The win moves Finn Harps 12 points clear of the Town and another defeat at home to Bohemians on Saturday night next could be the end for Tony Cousins, a manager in crisis and who appears to have no solution for the serious problem of trying to avoid relegation back to the dreaded First Division.

Speaking to the Leader after the game under pressure Longford boss Cousins was disappointed with his side not scoring but happy with the way they played: “We dominated the game from the start; we had all the play. The first goal in the game is so crucial. It was very disappointing from our point of view as nobody picked up the Harps player. We gave him far too much space in the box. It was so frustrating because we played some really good stuff up to that.”

The small band of Town supporters who were at the game certainly wouldn’t agree with their manager’s views. Once again boos rang out at the end of the game and shouts were directed towards the Town dug-out. The way things are going at the moment it would test even the most ardent supporter and there is talk of a protest for this Saturday’s match against Bohemians at City Calling Stadium.

After a slow start the Town created the first chance of the game in the 16th minute when Philip Gannon forced a save out of Harps keeper Richard Brush. Two minutes later and against the run of play Harps broke the deadlock; a corner was not dealt with by the Town, the ball was kept in by Ethan Boyle and Josh Mailey found the back of the net with a looping volley.

Boosted by that goal the Donegal side gradually began to come into the game and in the 34th minute they had a chance to get a second but Town netminder Paul Skinner saved at the feet of Sean Houston.

One minute later Town striker David O’Sullivan headed over from close range. Longford’s best chance of the first half came in the 39th minute but Lee Duffy’s low shot just went agonisingly wide.

Cousins was frustrated his side didn’t put away those chances: “For a team that is down at the bottom and to play as well as we did it is very frustrating. We had great chances but you have got to put them away.”

Seven minutes into the second half Harps created another chance; Houston played the ball into Tony McNamee but Skinner did well to save with his feet.

Harps looked dangerous going forward and opened up the Town defence on numerous occasions. in the 74th minute they doubled their advantage when the home side failed to clear a cross from McNamee, the ball eventually came back to the same player and he drilled the ball past Skinner.

The Town hit the bar near the end while in the 85th minute David O’Sullivan shot wide when it was easier to score.

Although not happy with this side’s defending throughout the game, Tony Cousins once again bemoaned injuries and suspensions but admitted reinforcements could be coming in, in the July transfer window.

“We have got to change things around and the various injuries has certainly hampered the cause. It has been a recurring problem for us and we have got to try and make sure that in the transfer window we bring in a bit of quality. There are certain areas that we need to strengthen and we have got to bring some new players in. I don’t think we are playing that badly, a few players could make a difference,” commented Cousins.

LONGFORD TOWN: Paul Skinner; Daniel O’Reilly, Rhys Gorman, Mark Hughes, Conor Powell; Kealan Dillon, Philip Gannon, Kevin O’Connor, Peter McGlynn; Lee Duffy, David O’Sullivan.

Subs:- Josh O’Hanlon for Duffy (59 mins); Don Cowan for Gannon (72 mins); Kaleem Simon for McGlynn (78 mins).

FINN HARPS: Richard Brush; Josh Mailey, Ethan Boyle, Damien McNulty, Keith Cowan; Barry McNamee, Gareth Harkin, Barry Molloy, Ciaran Coll; Sean Houston, Ryan Curran.

Subs:- Raymond Foy for Harkin (16 mins); Michael Funston for McNamee (82 mins); Liam Flatley for Curran (89 mins).

Referee: Neil Doyle (Dublin).