Enda Curran, who scored all three goals for Longford Town in the win against Athlone at City Calling Stadium. Photo: Syl Healy
While Longford Town made hard work of beating a poor Athlone outfit in the Airtricity League First Division clash at windy City Calling Stadium on Saturday evening, the result was all that mattered with Enda Curran the hat-trick hero in the midlands derby.
SSE Airtricity League First Division - Round 10
Longford Town . . . 3 Athlone Town . . . 1
The biggest attendance of the season, 407, watched the home side collect all three points and ironically Curran did not start the game but was brought on when his fellow striker David O’Sullivan was forced to retire injured with just ten minutes gone on the clock.
Curran was credited with breaking the deadlock in the 23rd minute when a cross from Don Cowan, a constant threat down the right wing, was parried by the Athlone keeper Igor Labuts with the ball ending up in the back of the net following a goalmouth scramble.
Longford had a very lucky escape later on when Athlone’s lone striker Walter Invernizzi struck a rasping shot against the underside of the crossbar in the 38th minute and the general opinion was that the ball had crossed the line but there was no flag from the linesperson.
Longford Town then scored a second goal in the 40th minute direct from a free-kick outside the box when Enda Curran’s effort crossed the line following a poor saving attempt from the opposing keeper.
While Athlone were thrown a lifeline when Dragog Sfrijan smacked the ball to the net in the 44th minute, they never looked like getting the equalising goal in a drab second half and were reduced to ten men when substitute Jason Molloy was sent-off in the 80th minute.
Molloy was just a couple of minutes on the pitch when he received a straight red card for a robust foul on Enda Curran and Athlone’s tale of woe was complete in the third minute of stoppage time when the ball broke kindly for Curran who directed a well executed lob over the stranded opposing keeper into the back of the net.
LONGFORD TOWN (4-4-2): Paul Skinner; Mark Langtry, Daniel O’Reilly, Stephen Walsh, Tristan Noack-Hofmann; Don Cowan, Kevin O’Connor, Dean Zambra, Cody Mulhall; David O’Sullivan, Gavin Boyne.
Sub:- Enda Curran for O’Sullivan (injured, 10 mins).
ATHLONE TOWN (4-2-3-1): Igor Labuts; Niall Scullion, Cormac Raferty, Kirils Grigorovs, David Brookes; Frederico Hernandez, Colm Coss; Dragog Sfrijan, Jose Viegas, Jason Lyons; Walter Invernizzi.
Subs:- Chris Rodrigues for Hernandez (36 mins); Jason Molloy for Scullion (78 mins); Ethan Keogh for Brookes (78 mins).
Referee: David Keller (Cork).