Shamrock Rovers moved back inside the top four of the League of Ireland Premier Division after they fought off a solid Longford Town side to claim a 2-0 win at the City Calling Stadium on Saturday night.
A Jamie Mulhall own-goal just after the hour mark gave Pat Fenlon’s side the lead before Danny North capitalized on a goalkeeping error to wrap up the 3 points for Rovers as they leapfrogged Galway United into 4th place.
Longford came closest to opening the scoring on the 15th minute mark when Kaleem Simon linked up with David O’Sullivan who slipped it through for Simon to strike, however he could only see his effort fall wide of the mark when he really should have tested Craig Hyland in the Rovers’ goal.
Ten minutes later and Longford had a strong appeal for a penalty turned down by referee Ben Connolly. Simon found a pocket of space inside the Rovers’ area but he was shoved to the floor by David Webster, however, the referee waved the 19-year-old back to his feet.
Gary McCabe began to grow into the half and he brought about a decent stop from Longford’s Paul Skinner when his arrowed shot was well-caught by the outstretched arms of the Town stopper.
However, that would be the last save Skinner was to make as he unfortunately pulled up following a goal-kick and was replaced eight minutes from the break by debutant Ian Molloy.
Two minutes into the restart and McCabe was again inches from breaking the deadlock when he rifled a shot from distance against the frame of the goal.
Rovers kept up the high-pressure and it eventually told as on 61 minutes, as Dean Clarke whipped a ball towards the Longford danger zone where Mulhall was the unlucky recipient to turn the ball into his own net.
Longford almost struck back with a quarter of an hour to play when Simon volleyed a rocket shot on target only for Hyland to make a solid stop to keep the one goal margin intact.
The visitors then wrapped up the victory after a punt forward from the Hoops’ midfield forced Molloy to come out of his goal to try and clear, however, he lost his footing under the damp surface which allowed substittute North to skip in behind and place it into the gaping net to seal the three points.
Longford Town: Paul Skinner (Ian Molloy 37); Pat Flynn, Kealan Dillon (Kevin O’Connor 74), James Mulhall, Tristan Noack Hofman, Conor Powel; Peter McGlynn (Don Cowan 50), Philip Gannon, Kaleem Simon; Josh O’Hanlon, David O’Sullivan.
Subs not used: Mark Hughes, Lee Duffy, Daniel O’Reilly, Mark Rossiter.
Sent Off: None.
Shamrock Rovers: Craig Hyland; Simon Madden, Rob Cornwall, David Webster, Gavin Brennan; Gary McCabe, Stephen McPhail, Killian Brennan, Brandon Miele (Patrick Cregg 79), Dean Clarke (Trevor Clarke 86); Gary Shaw (Danny North 64)
Subs not used: Barry Murphy, Sean Boyd, Sean Heaney, Richie Purdy.
Sent Off: None.
Referee: Ben Connolly.
Extratime Man of the Match: Kaleem Simon (Longford Town).