Sligo Rovers . . . . 1 Longford Town . . . . 0
Needing a positive result to keep alive their faint hopes of a remarkable recovery, Longford Town suffered a shattering defeat against Sligo Rovers at the Showgrounds on Friday night as the club now prepare for life in the First Division.
And relegation became a virtual reality with Wexford Youths holding out for a 5-4 win over Galway United after leading 5-0 at one stage of the second half in a thriller at Ferrycarrig Park and thus move nine points ahead of the Town with just three fixtures remaining, allied to their superior goal (12) difference.
A lot of the goals Longford have conceded this year have been mistakes and it was a goalkeeping error that cost the Town dearly in Sligo; Kieran Sadlier capitalising on a blunder from former Rovers keeper Ryan Coulter to score the only goal in the 13th minute.
After the high of finishing sixth last season, many of the optimistic supporters felt that the club could repeat that fine feat in the current campaign but the departure of top players – most surprisingly released by manager Tony Cousins – and poor quality signings made it clear from the start that Longford were facing a fierce struggle to retain their top flight status.
The Town have been at the bottom of the table since very much the beginning of the season even though they did start well with a win away to Wexford Youths but then went on a dismal run. It was hoped that the mid-season break in June would bring about a change in fortunes but when they lost to Finn Harps on the resumption of the league, the decision should have been taken then by the board to put a new manager in charge.
Cousins did eventually resign in August following a devastating defeat away to Wexford Youths and despite beating Harps away under new manager Alan Mathews, it was clearly evident that the Town were fighting a losing battle to avoid automatic relegation from the Premier Division.
SLIGO ROVERS: Ciaran Nugent; Tobi Adebayo-Rowling, Gavin Peers, Mick Leahy, Gary Boylan; Jimmy Keohane, Craig Roddan, Pat McCann, Kieran Sadlier; Raff Cretaro, Phil Roberts.
Sub:- Daniel Kearns for Sadlier (67 mins).
LONGFORD TOWN: Ryan Coulter; Jamie Mulhall, Noel Haverty, Pat Flynn Conor Powell; Peter McGlynn, Philip Gannon, Kevin O’Connor, Kaleem Simon; David O’Sullivan, Don Cowan.
Subs:- Rhys Gorman for Haverty (63 mins); Eddie Dsane for Simon (65 mins); Kealan Dillon for Gannon (83 mins).
Referee: Rob Harvey (Dublin).