Second placed Cobh looking for hat-trick of wins over managerless Longford

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Hot on the heels of league leaders and Munster rivals Waterford, Stephen Henderson’s Cobh Ramblers head to the City Calling Stadium on Saturday night in search of not only a third consecutive win over “De Town” but three points which could potentially fire the “Rams” to the top of the table. Given Waterford FC’s huge spending power this season many had expected the “Blues” to “do a Limerick” and run away with the First Division title, however with just thirteen matches left to play the “Islanders” are in with a real shout of playing top-flight football in 2018.

As for Longford Town, who remain without a manager following the sacking of Alan Mathews and his assistant Kevin Doherty, the Midlands side played out a dull scoreless draw with sixth placed Shelbourne prior to the mid-season break, with both clubs long out of contention for promotion this season. Having been relegated from the top-flight last term, Town were many peoples tips to challenge Waterford for the second tier title this season, with both clubs forking out on a large playing budget during the off-season.

As already mentioned, Henderson’s men have had Longford’s number so far this seaon with two wins from two over Alan Mathews charges. First-team coach and current caretaker boss Gary Cronin will not only be looking to end that Cobh dominance but claim a big home win in front of chairman Jim Hanley, who will ultimately decide the next name to take up the hot-seat at Longford Town FC. Speaking to Between the Stripes after that recent draw in Tolka Park, Cronin revealed to us first that he had indeed applied for the vacant managers position at the club and the former Town player will surely view this encounter as his final chance to leave a lasting impression ahead of another round of interviews.

In terms of team news for Saturdays game, the hosts will be without perhaps their best centre-half this season in Daniel O’Reilly who is suspended. Meanwhile, remaining sidelined are David O’Sullivan and Mark Langtry, while Enda Curran, Don Cowan and Cody Mulhall are all hopeful of returning to first-team action after injury. Ramblers have no suspension issues to contend with, while there is no injury news to report as of yet.

Kick-off at the City Calling Stadium on Saturday night is 7:30PM.


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Mathews former clubs collide as Cronin leads Longford into battle at Tolka

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Alan Mathews was sacked by LTFC last weekend. 

Less than a week on from the shock news that Alan Mathews and Longford Town FC have parted ways, first-team coach Gary Cronin will lead Longford into a battle for mid-table supremacy when they face thirteen-time League of Ireland winners Shelbourne on Friday night.  A 5-0 home win over rock-bottom Wexford FC was not enough to save Longford Town’s most successful ever manager from the chopping board, as a slow start to the season effectively killed off the clubs hopes of an instant return to the Premier Division, with Mathews paying the ultimate price.

Ahead of this final game before the mid-season break, Gary Cronin will be looking to not only throw his name into the hat for the hot-seat position at Longford Town FC, but in the process claim a win which would see “De Town” move four-points clear of sixth placed Shelbourne and potentially within a single point of fourth placed Cabinteely. Continue reading

Injury hit Longford face bottom side Wexford FC at City Calling Stadium

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Sadly, a small crowd is expected at City Calling Stadium on Saturday.

Prior to the start of the 2017 season, not too many would have envisaged this meeting of Longford Town and Wexford FC as being a bottom-of the table encounter, however after respective poor runs of form nothing more than pride is realistically on the line in the Midlands on Saturday night (kick-off 7:30PM).

Alan Mathews Longford Town team come into this home-tie off the back of a horrendous couple of weeks which has saw “De Town” go not only four games in all competitions without a win but also without scoring a single goal. The last time the “Red and Black” of Longford successfully found the back of the opposition net was on April 29th, in the now infamous Midlands derby against Athlone Town as Enda Curran bagged a hat-trick. That result had saw the Midlands outfit claim back to back home wins for the first-time in 2017, however hopes of a treble failed dramatically when UCD left with all three points and 1-0 win just a fortnight ago.

Last Friday’s defeat away to league leaders Waterford FC, also a 1-0 scoreline, sees “De Town” enter this weekends round of fixtures an astonishing fifteen-points off the pace, with manager Alan Mathews admitting it is now extremely unlikely his side will play Premier Division football next season. Continue reading

Under pressure Longford looking for RSC revival

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Town boss Mathews has faced heavy criticism on social media after recent results. Image via http://www.ltfc.ie

When the fixtures were announced ahead of the 2017 season many saw this Friday’s game at the RSC as being a potential promotion six-pointer. With both Waterford and Longford spending freely during the off-season, the bookmakers made the two joint favorites for the First Division title. However, while Lee Power’s “Blues” have won seven of their opening twelve league games, Longford Town already find themselves twelve-points behind the early leaders with just three wins to their credit this season. Continue reading

Longford chasing hat-trick of home wins as UCD come to Town

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Can Longford make it three home wins in a row at City Calling Stadium on Saturday?

Having previously gone almost eighteen long months without a home win, Longford Town will be looking for a third consecutive home triumph on the bounce when they host surprise title contenders UCD on Saturday. 

Despite being among the youngest squads in the league, Collie O’Neills UCD have proven a number of doubters wrong by climbing to within a point of heavy title favourites and big spenders Waterford FC at the top of the table. With six wins from their opening eleven league matches, UCD have double the amount of W’s on the board compared to a Longford side who also got the cheque book out quite regularly during the off-season, in the hope of an instant return to the top flight. 

However, it’s been a slow start for Alan Mathews side, who failed to break down a well organised Cabinteely side at the weekend, a result which saw Longford Town’s wait for consecutive league continue. Incredibly, the tail end of the 2015 season is the last time the Midlands club managed to claim back to back league wins, that is a record that must change immediately if ”De Town” are to show the kind of constancy required to mount a title challenge. 

Injuries have played a role in Longford’s inconsistency this season and the news that record goal-scorer David O’Sullivan is to be sidelined for a prolonged spell certainly comes as unwelcome to Town followers. A lack of ruthlessness in front of goals has been Longford’s biggest issue this season, with Enda Curran the latest Town striker to miss an absolute sitter in the recent meeting with ”CABO”, so for O’Sullivan to now be unavailable is a major headache for boss Alan Mathews to contend with. Perhaps the option of deploying strikers turned wingers Cody Mulhall and Don Cowan in a more central position will be a route Mathews decides to go down at some stage, but with Jake Kelly and Dylan McGlade struggling for form it would certainly leave Longford lacking in wide areas. 

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Town will be without their all-time leading goal-scorer David O’Sullivan for the foreseeable future. 

On the bright side for the Longford coaching staff, the teams defensive shape has certainly come on leaps and bounds in recent weeks with the back four of Mark Langtry, Stephen Walsh, Daniel O’Reilly and Tristan Noack Hofmann (Click here to read an exclusive interview with the young Town star) now picking itself every week, while Dean Zambra is growing into his role as midfield protector with every passing game. 

The only previous meeting between Longford and UCD this season came at the UCD Bowl, where a fine first half showing by the ”Students” blew a lacklustre Longford away. Despite putting in one of their worst performances of the season, Longford could have still left Dublin with a point to their credit as a youthful UCD tired dramatically in the second period and again only for poor finishing ”De Town” could have gone home with a different result. It will be interesting to see if O’Neill’s side are still struggling with their stamina now that we are into the second series of games, as this would certainly be a hindrance to his side in sustaining their early title challenge.  

Poor playing surfaces have been a constant talking point throughout the 2017 League of Ireland season, particularly in the First Division but the crucible like surface at City Calling Stadium should see both sides encouraged to get the ball down and play some attractive football.

With a trip to rivals Waterford next on the cards for Longford Town, this game certainly falls into the must win category, with the gap to the ”Blues” already standing at nine-points ahead of this upcoming round of games. With a real injury crisis currently taking place at the RSC, plus the loss of key players who’s loan deals with Swindon Town have now expired, this may be Longford’s only realistic opportunity to catch Waterford FC napping and they will have to take that chance starting Saturday night against UCD! 

Prediction: Longford Town 1-0 UCD  – With Longford showing a lot more steel at the back in recent weeks the onus will he on their attacking players to find the key to winning this game. Expect a big performance from lone striker Enda Curran who has scored 5 goals in his last two home appearances. 

Continue reading

Longford head to Cabo in search of first back to back league wins since 2015

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The Stradbrook playing surface, which also hosts rugby matches, has come under heavy criticism in recent seasons.

Fifth placed Longford Town will be hoping to leapfrog their hosts, Cabinteely on Saturday night as the Midlands outfit go in search of consecutive league wins for the first time since the tail end of 2015. Continue reading

Mathews looks for more cup success against struggling Shamrock Rovers

 

shamrock-rovers-crestIt’s been a season of unwanted records for Longford Town in 2017, seventeen months without a home win up until the recent 3-1 triumph over Shelbourne at City Calling Stadium, without back to back league wins since the tail end of their 2015 Premier Division campaign and now “De Town” go in search of a first ever win over Shamrock Rovers senior side at the Tallaght Stadium. A struggling Shamrock Rovers side are the hosts in what may prove to be a far bigger game than anticipated for “Hoops” manager Stephen Bradley, given the Dublin clubs wretched league performance to date.

A 90th minute equaliser from Brazilian sensation Rodrigo Tosi saw manager-less Limerick nick a point at the Capital based venue on Friday night, a result which saw Rovers slip into a mid-table position, just three points above Sligo Rovers in the final relegation place. While talk of Irish footballs biggest name being dragged into a relegation scrap seems unthinkable, mutterings of discontent have long been heard from the Tallaght stands now, with rookie manager Stephen Bradley perhaps already looking over his shoulder in the Rovers hot-seat. Having failed to win this competition since 2013, the EA Sports Cup is Rovers most likely route to silverware this season but even at that it may not be enough to appease the Tallaght faithful should the “Hoops” record of six defeats in eleven league games not improve and dramatically at that.  Continue reading