Finn Harps came from behind to take all three points over Longford Town for the second time this season writes Tony Ghee.
Goals from Sean O’Donnell, Ryan Flood, and Damien Duffy earned the Donegal side a 3-2 victory in Bishopsgate. Christian Magerusan and Beineon O’Brien Whitmarsh finding the net for Longford Town.
The hosts dominated the opening 10-minutes creating three chances as they put the Harps defence under serious pressure.
With just five minutes on the clock, Harps keeper Tim Hiemer superbly tipped a James Doona outside the box shot over the bar.
Doona’s resulting corner was headed against the underside of the bar by Town centre-half Aaron Walsh. The Donegal side had another lucky escape in the ninth minute. Magerusan heading Ciaran Hodanu’s left-wing cross narrowly wide.
Harps settled after that and had much more possession without creating any real opportunities.
15 minutes passed before the next chance arrived and again it fell to the Midlanders. However, Aodh Dervin blazed well over from 25-yards.
Harps waited until the 27th minute to test the Longford defence. Sean O’Donnell’s rising 15-yard shot cleared the Town crossbar after Daithi McCallion headed back Ryan Flood’s corner.
While, Longford made the breakthrough on 35 minutes. Joshua Giurgi pass was intercepted by Harps centre-half Keith Cowan. The veteran’s poor first touch allowed O’Brien Whitmarsh to play a pin-point-pass to Magerusan who turned and drilled a low shot beyond Heimer into the bottom corner.
The visitors had the last chance of the half. Ryan Flood’s low free-kick was easily gathered at his near post by Longford keeper Jack Brady.
The Donegal side equalised nine minutes into the second-half courtesy of a calm finish from O’Donnell. A long clearance Shane McMonagle was cleverly headed on by Kevin Jordan. O’Donnell dispatched the ball into the far corner of the Town net. For his first senior goal in League of Ireland.
Four minutes later, Harps took the lead. Flood scoring his third free-kick of the season. His thunderous 35-yard shot nestled into the bottom corner of the Longford net.
However, Longford were back on level terms on 74 minutes. O’Brien Whitmarsh exchanged quick fire passes with Magerusan; carving open the Finn Harps defence. O’Brien Whitmarsh raced into the box, slotting the ball underneath the advancing keeper Hiemer for the equaliser.
However, the visitors regained the lead eight minutes later.
O’Donnell received possession on the right near the end-line, brilliantly turned Hodanu, racing along the end-line before delivering a low cross that was expertly turned in by substitute Duffy. For Duffy’s first goal in a Harps’ jersey.
Harps almost doubled their advantage on three minutes from time. Flood corner was headed back across goal by Aaron McMonagle to Noe Baba on the edge of the six-yard-box. Somehow Baba blasted over when he should have scored.
Five minutes of stoppage time failed to produce another goal, and the visitors held on for a victory that moves them up to seventh in the table, while Longford Town drop down to ninth.
Longford Town (4-4-1-1): Brady, O’Brien, Walsh (Verdon 65), Byrne, Hodanu, Giurgi, Dervin, Serdeniuk, Doona (Ibrahim 61), Magerusan, O’Brien Whitmarsh.
Finn Harps (5-3-2): Hiemer, Porter, McCallion, Cowan, McMonagle, Jordan, Harris (Duffy 73), Baba, Flood, Da Silva, O’Donnell.
Referee: Robert Dowling.