David O'Sullivan bang on target with a header to score the second goal for Longford Town against Athlone in the First Division league clash at City Calling Stadium last Saturday night. Pic: Syl Healy
In achieving a record equalling win since the club were elected to the League of Ireland in 1984, Longford Town scored seven goals as they inflicted a demolition job on Athlone in this midlands derby massacre at City Calling Stadium on Saturday night last.
Longford Town . . . 7 Athlone Town . . . 1
David O’Sullivan hit another hat-trick, his third this season against Athlone in a remarkable achievement, as the Town ran riot against a depleted Athlone outfit who had just two substitutes on the bench and were ripped apart by the rampant home side.
On a high since the shock win over Sligo Rovers in the first round of the FAI Cup the previous week, Longford Town were in a confident frame of mind for the Airtricity League First Division clash and delighted the home supporters among the official attendance of 480.
Neale Fenn’s slick passing side broke the deadlock with just three minutes gone in the game when David O’Sullivan fired the ball past Athlone keeper Igor Labuts after latching on to a defence splitting pass from Jake Kelly.
O’Sullivan struck to score his second goal from a header in the 8th minute, connecting with a corner taken by Kelly, and the hat-trick was completed in the 13th minute when the Town striker capitalised on very poor Athlone defending.
Game, set and match to Longford who created a few other scoring chances in the first half but it remained 3-0 at the break.
There was a glimmer of hope for Athlone when a speculative shot from Ryan Gaffey was deflected past Town keeper Jack Brady in the 47th minute but the issue was put beyond all doubt when central defender Daniel O’Reilly got the fourth goal in the 59th minute, heading home a corner from Jake Kelly.
Goal number 5 for Longford materialised in the 76th minute when Karl Chambers hit the target after a shot from David O’Sullivan was saved by the opposing keeper and then came the sweetest strike of the night when a terrific long range volley from the boot of substitute Kealan Dillon found the back of the net in the 81st minute.
It was all very embarrassing for Athlone, badly hit by the absence of former Longford players Enda Curran (injured) and Stephen Walsh (unavailable) along with the suspended Niall Scullion, and things got even worse when they conceded a seventh goal in the 83rd minute after a deflected shot from Karl Chambers ended up in the net.
Longford Town’s record scoring spree in this landslide league victory could well have surpass double figures such was the superiority they enjoyed in this target practise against weak opposition.
It was very satisfying to see a couple of young local lads, Aodh Dervin and Dan Beya, brought on in the second half and both showed some very neat touches.
The focus now switches to the FAI Cup second round clash away to non-league Bangor Celtic (Crumlin, Dublin) at the Iveagh grounds this Friday night, kick-off 7.45pm and Longford cannot take anything for granted against one of the top sides in the Leinster Senior League in their quest to qualify for the quarter-finals.
LONGFORD TOWN (4-4-2): Jack Brady; Karl Chambers, Noel Haverty, Daniel O’Reilly, Tristan Noack-Hofmann; Don Cowan, Sam Verdon, Dean Zambra, Alan Kehoe; Jake Kelly, David O’Sullivan.
Subs:- Aodh Dervin for Zambra (58 mins); Kealan Dillon for Kelly (63 mins); Dan Beya for Keogh (73 mins).
ATHLONE TOWN (4-4-2): Igor Labuts; Liam McCartan, Owen Folan, Dragos Sfrijan, Sean McGrane; Joe Carmody, Peter Walsh, Rob Spellmann, Ryan Gaffey; Conor Layng, Etanda Nkololo.
Sub:- Peter Arebiyi-Atoki for Walsh (72 mins).
Referee: Tomas Connolly (Dublin).
Footnote: Athlone must be sick of the sight of Longford Town this season as Enda Curran also scored a hat-trick in one of the four league games against the neighbouring rivals. Curran is now with Athlone after leaving Longford in the July transfer window but injury ruled him out of the game at City Calling Stadium last Saturday night. For the record, David O’Sullivan’s three hat-tricks against Athlone this year were recorded in the First Division (twice) along with the EA Sports Cup first round clash.