Longford Claim Big El Classico Win

Longford Town remain third in the first division table just four points off top after an emphatic four-nil away win to Athlone Town.

Goals from Rob Manley, Sam Verdon, Karl Chambers and a Scott Delaney own goal securing three valuable points for Longford.

Athlone had an early chance after five minutes when a poor clearance from Longford keeper Lee Stacey landed at the feet of home striker Dean George.

George 22-yards out from goal, but with an empty goal before him, he miscued his shot.

The visitors nearly opened the scoring in the seventh minute when a low cross-field Dean Byrne pass found Sam Verdon, but his 25-yard thunderbolt went just wide of the Athlone post.

Three minutes later, Longford took the lead as Aodh Dervin’s superb long pass put in striker Rob Manley, who kept his composure fending off the challenge of Scott Delaney before poking the ball past keeper Aaron Myles for his sixth goal of the season.

Athlone almost equalised on 32-minutes. Ronan Manning whipped in a dangerous free-kick from the left that resulted in Ciaran Grogan’s brilliant back-header rattling the crossbar.

On the hour mark, Longford almost doubled their lead. Substitute Aaron McNally charged down the left and delivered a perfectly weighted ball to Byrne, but his close range shot deflected narrowly wide off an Athlone defender.

Longford Town sealed the victory on 68-minutes when former Town underage star Tumelo Tlou sent Byrne sprawling inside the penalty area, up stepped Sam Verdon to send Myles the wrong way for his sixth goal of the campaign.

It got worse for Athlone on six minutes later when substitute Lee Duffy was shown a straight red card for an off the ball incident.

Longford scored their third goal on 13 minutes from time when Athlone centre-back Delaney headed a Byrne cross into his own net.

The scoring was completed in stoppage time as substitute Karl Chambers slotted home his first of the season from close range after capitalising on a defensive mix-up to give the visitors a four-nil victory.

Athlone Town (4-4-1-1): Myles, Tlou, Delaney (O’Connor 89), Grogan, Brookes, Lennon (Duffy 59), Dogan (Carroll 75), Birrane, Reynolds, Manning, George (White 75)

Longford Town (4-4-2-1): Stacey, McDonnell, Joe Manley, Hand, Elworthy, Zambra, Dervin (McCabe 82), Evans (McNally 48), Verdon (O’Brien 82), Byrne (Chambers 77), Rob Manley (Warfield 82)

Referee: Eoghan O’Shea.