Delighted Karl Chambers celebrating his equalising goal for Longford Town along with Aaron Robinson in the league game against Cork City at Bishopsgate Photo: Syl Healy
Perseverance paid off for Longford Town as they snatched a late equaliser against Cork City in the action packed SSE Airtricity League First Division clash at Bishopsgate on Saturday night last.
Longford Town . . . 1 Cork City . . . 1
Substitute Karl Chambers was the saviour as his looping header, after connecting with a corner from Dylan Barnett, ended up in the back of the net in the 85th minute and a draw was no more than the Town deserved.
In producing what was probably their best performance this season with a high intensity, Longford dominated a large part of this entertaining encounter and should have won after creating several scoring chances.
The Town were most unfortunate not to take the lead in the 15th minute when a shot from Sam Verdon hit the post with the otherwise commanding Cork keeper David Harrington beaten but the visitors broke the deadlock moments later.
Cian Bargary cut in from the left wing before unleashing a spectacular strike that yielded a superb goal and Longford keeper Luke Dennison was left with no chance whatsoever.
That was a sickening blow for the home side and there was even more frustration when they were denied what appeared to be a stonewall penalty in the 28th minute after Cristian Magerusan was impeded in the box in a clash with Cork City defender Jonas Hakkininen.
Some of the strange decisions made by the referee Oliver Moran left a lot to be desired, much to the great anger of the vociferous Town supporters, and it would have been a real shame if Longford had ended up losing this game.
Verdon had a header cleared off the line in the 63rd minute and just when it seemed as if Cork were going to hold out for a win that would have put them back at the top of the table, up popped Chambers to score the goal that earned the Town a positive result to strengthen their bid for a place in the First Division promotion play-offs.
Infuriated by the match officials in their poor handling of the match, at least the Longford fans had something to shout about and it all added to the electric atmosphere in the stadium.
Straight from the kick-off, the Town piled the pressure on the title contenders and it was a very tight offside call that prevented the clean through Ryan Graydon from scoring in the 13th minute.
Then came the Sam Verdon strike against the post before Cian Bargary fired home a cracking goal for Cork in the 16th minute.
Longford gradually recovered from this setback with Cristian Magerusan going close from a long range effort that was just over the bar in the 28th minute.
Then came the strong claim for a Town penalty that was ignored by the referee before both Verdon and Magerusan had shots blocked in the box when a goal looked certain to materialise in the same attack with 33 minutes gone on the clock.
That was another lucky escape for Cork City who continued to live dangerously in the second half and twice Magerusan just failed to get the vital touch to a defence splitting cross from Joe Power and the consistently excellent Shane Elworthy.
In between, Dennison made a smart save from former Town player Aaron Bolger and the Longford keeper produced a fine stop to keep out a shot from Bargary in the 74th minute.
Cork defender Josh Honoham came to the rescue when he blocked a goalbound header from Sam Verdon and the Longford captain then directed a tame header straight at the City keeper Harrington in the 76th minute.
The visitors were posing problems on the quick counter-attack and had a couple of other chances to score a second goal.
Just when it appeared as if Cork were going to come away with all three vital points, a shot from Town substitute Callum Warfield was deflected just wide of the post with time running out.
From the resulting corner taken by the generally exceptional Dylan Barnett, the firm header from Karl Chambers found a way past the Cork netminder Harrington - much to the sheer delight of the Longford supporters who were very pleased with this fine performance.
LONGFORD TOWN: Luke Dennison; Shane Elworthy, Michael Barker, Dylan Barnett, Ben Lynch; Aaron Robinson, Dean McMenamy; Ryan Graydon, Sam Verdon, Joe Power; Cristian Magerusan.
Subs:- Mick McDonnell for Barker (injured, 71 mins); Eric Molloy and Karl Chambers for Power and Magerusan (79 mins); Callum Warfield for Graydon (injured, 83 mins).
CORK CITY: David Harrington; Jonas Hakkinen, Ally Gilchrist, Josh Honohan; Kieran Coates, Kevin O’Connor, Matt Srbely, Cian Bargary; Aaron Bolger, Cian Murphy; Mark O’Mahony.
Subs:- Ronan Hurley for Gilchrist (injured, 35 mins); Franco Umeh for O’Mahony (90 mins).
Referee: Oliver Moran.
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