Friday 28th September 2007, 11:31 pm
28th September 2007
Longford Town 1
Ian Ryan 90
Drogheda United 2
Guy Bates 35
Paul Keegan 45
Referee : Declan Hanney
Live on RTE 2
Drogheda United extended their lead at the top of the League of Ireland with a 2-1 win over bottom side Longford Town at Flancare Park.
Given their recent good form, Longford were always expected to at least offer a challenge to the league leaders and so it proved in the early going.
The midlanders in fact squandered a couple of good early chances as top scorer Dave Mooney lost a one-on-one battle with Drogs keeper Dan Connor before missing the target from a great position just minutes later.
Drogheda improved following those early exchanges and Guy Bates went close before eventually opening the scoring.
The Drogs took the lead after thirty-five minutes following a superb team move which unlocked the Longford defence. Brian Shelley's surging run created the chance and a one-two with Eamon Zayed gave the Drogs defender the chance to square for Guy Bates who made no mistake from close range.
Paul Keegan marked his return to a starting role by making it 2-0 just before half-time. The former Irish under-21 international rose to head in from Richie Baker's corner kick on the stroke of half-time.
Although the goal was great news for Drogheda and their hopes of a first ever League of Ireland title, it didn't do much for the game as a spectacle and the Drogs were content to sit and soak up what Longford could throw at them in the second period.
Kevin Doherty was sent off with two minutes left in the game following an altercation and while the red card was never going to have an impact in tonight's game, the resulting suspension will be a blow to Longford's survival hopes.
Ian Ryan still managed to grab a goal back for Longford just before the end - denying Drogheda a confidence boosting clean-sheet. Ryan - on loan from Drogheda's title rivals Shamrock Rovers - lashed home in the final minute to gain some consolation for the bottom of the table side.
Longford Town : Kelly, James, Ryan, Doherty, Prunty, Martin (Rutherford 57), Deegan, Doyle, Reilly, Baker, Mooney.
Drogheda United : Connor, Webb, Gartland, Gavin, Shelley, Cahill, Keegan, Robinson, Baker, Zayed (Ristila 86), Bates.