Deniese O’Flaherty reports from Bishopsgate
Chris Shields earned his side a point against a battling Longford Town side on Monday evening at a cold and wet Bishopsgate.
Shields received the ball from Junior before firing an excellent strike past Town keeper Mick Kelly in the 81st minute. The Louth side tried to get a late winner, but Town held firm.
Town will be disappointed they didn’t hold on for the win after going 2-0 up within the opening 15 minutes.
They created several chances throughout and just before Shields equalised for Dundalk, an opportunity fell to Dean Byrne, but his weak side footed effort was blocked by Daniel Cleary.
Dundalk are now 13 points behind leaders Shamrock Rovers, while Town move off the bottom spot and are ahead of Waterford on goal difference.
It was an entertaining encounter, and the first half was full of action from both sides. Just six minutes had elapsed when Town broke the deadlock; Dylan Grimes played a one-two with Byrne, before drilling a low shot into the bottom corner of the net with Dundalk keeper Peter Cherrie making a mess in his attempt to save it.
Town doubled their lead in the 14th minute; a cross from Karl Chambers was floated into the box, Cherrie spilled it and Rob Manley was given the simple task of slotting it into an empty net.
The visitors pulled a goal back in the 20th minute when a Michael Duffy corner met the head of Daniel Cleary and Junior was able to tap it home.
In the 35th minute Sean Murray was unable to connect to a Raivis Jurkovskis cross while down the other end Town had two great opportunities in quick succession.
Dean Byrne’s shot from distance in the 36th minute just went inches wide while one minute Grimes came close with a well struck free.
Just before the break Andy Boyle’s effort went the wrong side of the back post. Right at the start of the second half Cherrie redeemed himself for his earlier mistakes by pulling off an excellent save to deny Manley.
The second half was a cagey affair with Dundalk piling on the pressure but not creating too many chances.
In the 80th minute Boyle came close to equalising while down the other end Byrne missed a glorious chance to restore Town’s two goal advantage.
Dundalk drew level in the 82nd minute through their captain Shields. Michael Duffy had an effort just after but Town netminder Mick Kelly was able to gather.
Longford Town: Mick Kelly; Shane Elworthy, Mick McDonnell, Aaron O’Driscoll, Karl Chambers; Aodh Dervin, Dean Zambra (Joe Manley, 77), Aaron Robinson; Dylan Grimes, Dean Byrne; Rob Manley.
Subs not used: Lee Steacy, Callum Thompson, Aaron Bolger, Aaron McCabe, Luke Dennison, Sam Barnes, Ben Lynch, Thomas McLaughlin.
Dundalk: Peter Cherrie; Raivis Jurkovskis, Daniel Cleary, Andy Boyle, Val Adedokun; Sean Murray (Daniel Kelly, 75), Greg Sloggett (Wilfried Zahibo, 62), Chris Shields, Michael Duffy; Patrick McEleney (Ole Midtskogen, 62); Junior Ogedi-Uzokwie.
Subs not used: Alessio Abibi, Darragh Leahy, Ryan O’Kane, Mark Hanratty, Enda Douglas, Jesus Perez.
Booked: Sean Murray (25).
Referee: Damien McGrath.
Extratime.com Player of the Match: Daniel Cleary (Dundalk).