Wednesday, 21st February 2018
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Waterford grind out a victory in Longford

Longford Town 0 Waterford FC 1

Paul Keegan, who only joined the club two days before the match scored the golden goal at the City Calling Stadium on Saturday night as Waterford maintained their six points advantage at the top of the league table. Keegan spent the last six years playing with Doncaster Rovers and Pat Fenlon, the Waterford Director of Football moved quickly to secure his signature when he returned home to Ireland. Paul played on the successful Bohemians team which Pat Fenlon managed some years ago and his capture could be the final link in the promotion charge. Cobh Ramblers are in second place following their victory over UCD and this Friday Cobh come to the RSC. This top of the table clash is expected to attract the largest attendance to the Kilbarry venue for many years for a league match

Paul Skinner, the Longford goalkeeper made a stunning save to deny the Blues the lead goal on eight minutes when Sean Heaney put in a brilliant delivery from the left that found the head of Shane O'Connor but his header was magnificently turned around the posts.

The Blues did have the ball in the back of the net on 14 minutes when John Martin headed home a right-wing cross from Shane O'Connor but the flag of assistant referee Trevor Conlon was raised for offside in what looked a tight call.

David McDaid went close to putting his side in front less than three minutes later when he got on the end of a left-wing delivery from Derek Daly at the near post but his left-footed effort from 12 yards was deflected over the bar by a Longford defender.

Blues skipper Kenny Browne came to his sides rescue on the half hour mark when Don Cowan got past the challenge of Sean Heaney out on the right before crossing for Jake Kelly but his close-range goalbound effort was blocked by the defender.

There was a major talking point on 40 minutes when a superb ball from Kenny Browne behind the Longford defence saw McDaid square the ball to John Martin, who was clearly hauled down in the area but referee Alan Carey waved play, the ball rebounded to McDaid however his cheeky lob of Skinner was tipped over.

Longford did have the first chance of the second half on 52 minutes when Tristan Noack Hofmann knocked the ball down into the path of Jake Kelly but his effort from 16 yards flashed narrowly over the crossbar of Blues keeper Matthew Connor.

The Blues got a large slice of luck for the breakthrough goal that arrived on 57 minutes when Longford keeper Paul Skinner played a clearance straight off Paul Keegan and the ball looped over the netminder finding the left-corner of the net.

Skinner made amends for that mistake with an amazing save to deny the Blues their second goal on 74 minutes when Conor Whittle was fouled out on the right-side and Derek Daly's free kick was somehow kept out and the rebound from Mark O'Sullivan was just wide.

Jake Kelly turned provider for Noel Haverty as the hosts forced three corner kicks in a row five minutes later but the defender saw his header cleared out for another flag kick that saw the ball knocked back to the former however he couldn't direct his effort on target.

With Kenny Browne and Patrick McClean producing the goods with some brilliant defending for the Blues, it was the latter that showed his class with a last-ditch tackle to deny Karl Chambers when he raced clear on goal before Mark O'Sullivan did have a chance deep into injury time for the Blues but Skinner saved superbly

LONGFORD TOWN: Paul Skinner, Aidan Friel, Tristan Noack-Hofmann, Noel Haverty, Dean Zambra, Jake Kelly, Kevin O'Connor (Kealan Dillon `84), Karl Chambers, Gavin Boyne (Cody Mulhall `71), Daniel O'Reilly, Don Cowan

WATERFORD FC: Matthew Connor, Conor Whittle, Patrick McClean, Kenny Browne, Sean Heaney, Paul Keegan, Shane O'Connor, Garry Comerford, Derek Daly (Dean O'Halloran `84), John Martin (Jack Lynch `90), David McDaid (Mark O'Sullivan `71)

Referee: Alan Carey (Dublin)

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