Heartbreak for Mervue United in nine goal thriller as leaders snatch late winJuly 3, 2012 - 7:00am
Mervue United 4
Longford Town 5
A first half that promised so much for Mervue United was all undone by a second half comeback by league leaders Longford Town as they were aided in that turnaround by some questionable decisions by referee Phil Caschera.
Johnny Glynn’s side had put in an excellent first half performance scoring three times without reply and looked destined for all three points until they were reduced to nine men in the second half as the man in the middle seemed intent on ensuring a result for the visitors.
The home side showed their opening half intent within two minutes as Jason Molloy forced an excellent save from Longford keeper Craig Hyland as he had to block the winger’s near post effort with his feet after just two minutes.
Mervue were in front on 19 minutes when Pat Hoban raced through the middle as he outpaced both Longford centre halves before being pulled down by Des Hope as the striker was about to shoot. Referee Phil Caschera seemed unlikely to take any action. only to whistle for the spot kick on the advice of his assistant referee awarded the spot kick.
Hope got away with just a yellow card for the foul, but Hoban exacted the perfect punishment, confidently dispatching the ball past Hyland.
Hoban doubled the lead six minutes later as he slotted home from close range after Hyland could only parry an Alan Murphy shot into the striker’s path, and matters got better for the home side just before the break as Etanda Nkololo raced onto a Murphy ball before blasting the ball past Hyland for a 3-0 lead on 41 minutes.
Mervue’s young keeper Conor O’Malley then made an excellent save to deny Colm James to ensure a comfortable half time-lead.
Longford introduced Alan Kirby for Keith Gillespie for the start of the second half as Tony Cousins’ side looked to have a mountain to climb but two goals in the space of three minutes just after the break had them back in the game.
Kirby floated a free-kick into the box and sub William McDonagh headed home in a crowded goalmouth past O’Malley on 54 minutes. Three minutes later a mistake from Marc Ludden saw the fullback leave his back pass to O’Malley short, and that allowed Mike Lee to nip in and his low cross was diverted into the net by the unfortunate Murphy for 3-2.
For more, read this week's Connacht Sentinel.