Deniese O’Flaherty reports from the Brandywell
James Akintunde struck late to earn Derry City a share of the spoils against Longford Town at the Ryan McBride Brandywell Stadium on Friday evening.
As the clock entered into the final minute of injury time a long ball was played into the box, Town failed to clear it and Akintunde picked it up to shoot home.
It was a draw the home side deserved and they’ll be disappointed not to have won the game such was the amount of chances they created throughout the game. On the other side, Town will be disappointed not to have held on for the win. It’s the second game in a row where they dropped two points having led.
Despite being under pressure for a lot of the game Longford took the lead in the 74th minute, against the run of play. Dean Zambra played a good ball into Rob Manley; he did well to hold off his marker before shooting to the net. They saw victory snatched from them with seconds remaining on the clock.
In what was a poor and scrappy first half it was Derry City who had the better of the chances. Four minutes had gone on the clock when Eoin Toal forced Town ‘keeper Mick Kelly to tip his header over the bar. Ten minutes later and Toal came close again to breaking the deadlock but his header was cleared off the line by Zambra.
The visitors slowly began to get into the game. Their first chance came just before the half hour mark when Shane Elworthy’s pinpoint cross met the head of Aaron Robinson but his weak effort was straight at Derry netminder Nathan Gartside.
Down the other end Akintunde should’ve done better with his effort in the 31st minute and in the 40th minute David Parkhouse’s low drive just went inches wide as Derry continued to carve out chances.
It was Parkhouse who tested the reflexes of Kelly within the opening minute of the second half. The home side continued to dominate while the Town didn’t do much to test Gartside.
Another Parkhouse effort was by Kelly in the 54th minute and in the 66th minute they had claims for a penalty waved away when Akintunde went down on the box. Despite their possession and chances created Derry went behind in the 74th minute when Manley broke the deadlock.
Derry tried to get back on level terms and in the first minute of stoppage time Kelly pulled off an excellent save to deny sub Patrick Ferry. But with time almost up Akintunde was able to pick the ball up and rescue a point for his side.
Derry City: Nathan Gartside; Ciaran Coll, Cameron McJannet, Eoin Toal, Ronan Boyce; Ciaron Harkin (Patrick Ferry 80); James Akintunde, Jack Malone, Will Patching, Will Fitzgerald (Caolan McLaughlin 75); David Parkhouse
Subs not used: Jack Lemoignan, Mark McChrystal, Darren Cole, Danny Lupano, Daniel Lafferty, Joe Thomson, Brendan Barr
Booked: Will Patching (83)
Longford Town: Mick Kelly; Shane Elworthy, Mick McDonnell, Aaron O’Driscoll, Karl Chambers; Aaron Robinson (Aaron Bolger 67), Aodh Dervin Dean Zambra; Dylan Grimes, Dylan Grimes, Dean Byrne (Callum Thompson 60); Rob Manley
Subs not used: Lee Steacy, Aaron McCabe, Matthew O’Brien, Luke Dennison, Sam Barnes, Joe Manley, Sam Barnes
Booked: Aaron Robinson (81)
Referee: Rob Harvey
extratime.com Player of the Match: Mick Kelly (Longford Town)