Longford Town stretched their lead at the top of the First Division table to nine points with a hard fought win over third placed Wexford Youths on Saturday night.
The game was literally over as a contest at half-time with the home side going in at the break 3-0 in front. It was a lacklustre second-half with Wexford making more of a game out of it.
Just seven minutes had elapsed when the home side broke the deadlock. Keith Quinn’s corner was headed clear by a Wexford defender but only to Willie Tyrrell who volleyed home from the edge of the box for his first goal for the club.
Longford doubled their advantage in the 11th minute with a goal from who else but David O’Sullivan. The ball was chipped over the top to the Wicklow man and he superbly lobbed the ball over the advancing Graham Doyle.
Minutes later ex-Wexford player Gavin Doyle had a chance to make it 3-0 but he dragged his shot wide. Daniel Purdy then had a chance but his shot brought a good save out of Doyle.
It was all Longford at this stage and it was no surprise when they got their third of the game with O’Sullivan grabbing his second with a sweet strike after being played in by Mark Salmon.
After being completely outplayed Wexford’s first chance on goal didn’t come until the 36th minute but Longford keeper Chris Bennion dived to his right to save Joey Mulcahy’s well-struck free-kick.
Wexford started the second-half brightly and within minutes of the restart Shane Nolan’s touch let him down when he had a good chance on goal. In the 60th minute Bennion was called into action again when Shane Noalan’s cross from the right met the head of Aidan Keenan but his effort was excellently saved by the Longford net-minder.
Down at the other end Longford had calls for a penalty when Gary Delaney cleared pulled back O’Sullivan when through on goal but referee Kevin O’Regan waved play on.
Wexford continued to press for a goal and in the 69th minute Mulcahy beat Bennion with an excellent free-kick after Nolan had been fouled.
The game then got scrappy and chances for either side were at a premium. Longford were flagged a few times for being offside while in the 82nd minute Tyrrell’s blushes were spared by Bennion when a cross from the left came off the defender but the keeper was alert to the danger and he saved.
That’s the way the game ended and Longford recorded another valuable win to keep a sizeable gap at the top as they prepare to enter the mid-season break.
Longford Town: Chris Bennion; David O’Neill, Corie Tracey, Brian McCarthy, Willie Tyrrell; Gavin Doyle (Michael Isichei 78), Mark Salmon, Daniel Purdy; Keith Quinn; David O’Sullivan, Gary Shaw (Josh O’Hanlon 67).
Subs not used: Paul Hunt, Chris Deans, Gary Cronin, Aaron Brilly.
Bookings: Brian McCarthy (6), Keith Quinn (45), Mark Salmon (49), David O’Sullivan (57).
Wexford Youths: Graham Doyle; Craig McCabe, Gary Delaney, Jamie Carr (CJ Browne 74), Jimmy Dermody; Shane Nolan, Joey Mulcahy, Caolan O’Gorman (Dean Broaders 78), Brian Nolan, Aidan Keenan; Graham Delaney (Daryl Power 65).
Subs not used: Ian Goulding, Shane Clarke, Dean Broaders, Brandan O’Callaghan.
Bookings: Aidan Keenan (53)
Referee: Kevin O’Regan (Kerry).
Extratime Man of the Match: David O’Sullivan (Longford Town).