Dean Byrne’s double helped Longford Town move second in the SSE Airtricty League table after 3-1 midland’s derby victory over Athlone Town.
Longford took the lead on the quarter-hour mark when Sam Verdon was inexplicably shoved over by Athlone’s centre-half Ciaran Grogan.
Verdon dusted himself down, and calmly despatched the penalty, sending keeper Aaron Myles the wrong way.
It was a short-lived lead as Athlone were back on level terms within two minutes, the home defence caught napping. As Aaron Brilly sliped Dean Williams who poked home the equaliser.
Longford regained the lead on 31 minutes, Dean Zambra’s corner was poorly cleared by Kealan Dillon’s. Paul O’Connor return was brilliantly finished by Dean Byrne.
Town almost had a third on 38 minutes but Anto Breslin’s 25-yard free-kick struck the Athlone crossbar.
Longford started the second-half in whirlwind fashion and were again denied by the woodwork just four minutes after the resumption.
Verdon’s curling shot from just outside the box came back-off the far post and was gathered at the second attempt by Athlone keeper Myles.
Dean Byrne grabbed his second of the night and Longford’s third on fifty-three minutes when he created space for himself before rifling his shot to the Athlone net.
The home side created another good chance on 65 minutes. Aaron Dobbs released Byrne down the left, who skipped past Evan White, Verdon narrowly heading the pull-back over.
Byrne was denied his hat-trick 13 minutes from time having weaved his way into the Athlone box from the left only for his effort to be saved by Myles.
The victory see’s Longford Town move to second in the SSE Airtricity League table one point behind Shelbourne with a game in hand.
Longford Town: Steacy, Elworthy, McDonnell, Kenna, Breslin, Zambra (Hollywood 72), Verdon (Chambers 72), Dervin, O’Connor, Byrne, Dobbs.
Athlone Town: Myles, White, Buckley, Grogan, Casey, Kearney, Hogan (Stokes 63), Brilly, Dillon (Lotefa 76), Simon, Williams.
Referee: Garvin Taggert.