Aodh Dervin in action for Longford Town against Derry City opponent Will Patching in the Premier Division clash at Bishopsgate on Saturday evening Photo: Eoin Noonan/Sportsfile
Making their return to the Premier Division for the first time since 2016, Longford Town rose to the occasion in most impressive fashion to score a surprise win over Derry City and are now perched proudly on the top of the table after the opening round of fixtures.
Longford Town . . . 2 Derry City . . . 0
It was a pity no supporters were allowed into Bishopsgate on Saturday evening due to the current Covid restrictions to witness a wonderful start to the new season as the totally committed home side produced a high energy performance packed with pace to emerge victorious in some style.
Make no mistake about it, tremendous Town deserved to collect all three valuable points in proving the pundits wrong and from the moment Dylan Grimes broke the deadlock as early as the 8th minute the force was firmly with the men in red and black.
Grimes, a constant threat for the Derry defence, weaved his way into the box to drill a low shot into the corner of the net and it was game, set and match when Joe Gorman pounced to fire home the killer second goal in the 73rd minute.
Local star Aodh Dervin, who really made his presence felt in the second half, had his free-kick parried by the opposing keeper Nathan Gartside but Town defender Gorman was alert to the breaking ball in hitting the target from a few yards out.
And it almost got even better for Longford a couple of minutes later when midfield dynamo Dervin drove a rasping free-kick against the Derry crossbar.
The visitors, who appeared to approach the game in a rather complacent manner, went close to scoring twice in the first half through close range efforts from the head of towering defender Eoin Toal.
And just before the break the Town keeper Lee Steacy made a fine reflex save to keep out a shot from David Parkhouse but moments earlier Dean Byrne was narrowly off target in his attempt to score a second goal for the midlanders.
Right at the start of the second half there was another lucky escape for Derry with their keeper Gartside (called into the Northern Ireland senior squad) producing a terrific save to deny Byrne.
Longford defender Paddy Kirk almost found the net from a cracking effort in the 59th minute before Gorman struck for the second goal to put the issue beyond all doubt.
Next up for the Town is a meeting with Bohemians at Dalymount Park on Saturday evening (6pm) and Daire Doyle’s courageous side will be facing that fixture in a fairly confident frame of mind in the aftermath of the Derry demise.
LONGFORD TOWN: Lee Steacy; Karl Chambers, Aaron O’Driscoll, Joe Gorman, Paddy Kirk; Dean Zambra, Aodh Dervin, Aaron Bolger; Dylan Grimes, Dean Byrne; Rob Manley.
Subs:- Callum Thompson for Byrne (63 mins); Joe Manley for Chambers (73 mins); Aaron Robinson for R Manley (85 mins); Aaron Dobbs for Bolger (85 mins).
DERRY CITY: Nathan Gartside; Darren Cole, Eoin Toal, Ciaran Coll, Danny Lafferty; Will Patching, Cameron McJannett, Ciaron Harkin; James Akintunde, David Parkhouse, Will Fitzgerald.
Subs:- Danny Lupano for Cole (half-time); Jack Malone for Akintunde (half-time); Carolaan McLoughlin for Fitzgerald (79 mins); Joe Thomson for McJannet (81 mins).
Referee: Adriano Reale.