Longford Town’s involvement in this year’s FAI Cup ended at Flancare Park on Saturday night last as Premier Division side Bohemians showed their class to book their place in the quarter-finals.
The Town went into this game knowing they were capable of causing an upset. They were narrowly defeated by Shamrock Rovers at the same stage last season and with Bohs not the side they used to be there was always a chance that Longford could surprise them. Unfortunately like so many times this season slack marking cost them in conceding goals.
Against a side like Bohs you can’t afford to switch off and ball-watch in defence and that’s what the Town were guilty of for the visitors first goal. Longford had taken the lead and were nine minutes away from going in at the break deservedly in front but Bohs punished their woeful defending.
Bohs second goal was disastrous for the Town; an own goal from captain Chris Deans. It swung the game in Bohs favour and gave them the impetus to move up a gear.
Bohs were able to leave the likes of Christy Fagan, Craig Forrester, Keith Buckley and Mark Rossiter on the bench. Cathal Brady was immense throughout for the Town and ran eventual man-of-the-match award winner Killian Brennan very close for that honour.
Brennan was involved in Bohs first move of the game in the 4th minute when Town keeper Alvin Rouse was called into making a smart save. The winger whipped in a free from the left and while the ball was cleared by a Town defender it fell to Anto Flood whose effort was saved by the feet of Rouse.
Town striker Don Cowan caused the Bohs defence a few problems in the opening exchanges but it was Craig Walsh who broke the deadlock in the 13th minute. Walsh got onto the end of Cathal Brady’s perfect cross and made no mistake from close range.
Brady again was the provider when Longford created another goalscoring opportunity in the 19th minute; he played a neat ball into Thomas Crawley but unfortunately the latter lost his footing when he was about to shoot.
Town keeper Rouse had to make another save in the 30th minute to keep his goal intact. A short corner was played between Aidan Downes and Killian Brennan with the latter finding space and time to take a shot but the Town netminder made a fine stop.
Four minutes later and Bohs were back on level terms when Downes punished some ball-watching by the Town defence to volley home. This is something that has troubled the Town this season on several occasions. Just when it seems like they have eradicated these silly mistakes they make them again.
After being outplayed for a lot of the first half Bohs were happy to be going in at the break all square. But they came out with all guns blazing for the second half and started very well.
Anto Flood showed some nice footwork and skill to squeeze in between two Town defenders and make room for himself to take a shot but his effort was saved by Rouse and out for a corner. From that corner Bohs took the lead; Deans made a hash of his attempted clearance and ended up putting the ball into his own net. Ironically, defender Deans did the exact same thing against Shamrock Rovers at this stage in the cup last season.
The Town had chances to get back into the game with substitute Austin Skelly coming very close in the 77th minute with a low drive that just went inches wide. But Bohs clinched the win in the 81st minute when Brennan got their third goal; unleashing a fine strike from about 25 yards out which flew past Town keeper Rouse.
LONGFORD TOWN: Alvin Rouse, Graham Dowling, Chris Deans, Des Hope, Gary Cronin, Thomas Crawley, Craig Walsh, Thomas Hyland, Mark Salmon, Cathal Brady, Don Cowan.
Subs:- Austin Skelly for Crawley (49 mins); Michael Lee for Walsh (64 mins); Daniel Purdy for Cowan (76 mins).
BOHEMIANS: Craig Sexton, Owen Heary, Aiden Price, Liam Burns, Ollie Cahill, Ger O’Brien, Glenn Cronin, Stephen Hurley, Killian Brennan, Anto Flood, Aidan Downes.
Subs:- Mark Rossiter for Price (half-time); Christy Fagan for Downes (74 mins); Keith Buckley for Cronin (85 mins).
Referee: Richie Winter (Wicklow).