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 →
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 →
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 →
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.
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 hereto 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.
Prior to the start of the 2017 SSE Airtricity League season, very few would have predicted the meetings between local rivals Longford Town and Athlone Town would carry such significance, at least not in the lower reaches of the First Division standings. While Athlone’s off season sagas led to predictions of a wooden spoon finish for the year ahead, Alan Mathews Longford set off as joint favorites among the bookmakers for promotion back to the Premier League, which the “Red and Black” were of course relegated from in 2016. However, nine games into the new campaign and it is the “Blue and Black” of Athlone who lead the way in the battle of the Midlands clubs, as the currently managerless side sit seventh, one point above their arch rivals
COBH RAMBERS V LONGFORD TOWN – SSE AIRTRCITY LEAGUE FIRST DIVISION
Despite the long journey ahead and memories of a humiliating 3-1 home defeat at the hands of Saturday’s opposition still fresh in Longford minds, ”De Town” head south looking to extend their current unbeaten run to five games in all competitions. There have been some unforgettable meetings at St.Colman’s Park between Cobh Ramblers and Longford Town in recent years and with both sides in an immediate hurry to make up lost ground on current leaders Waterford FC, this could turn out to be yet another goal-fest by the sea.
Speaking to Between the Stripes ahead of Saturday’s game, Cobh boss Stephen Henderson spoke of his expectations for another tough test against a strong Longford side:Continue reading →
Longford Town will not only be looking to end a two-game losing streak on Saturday evening when they host Waterford FC at the City Calling Stadium, but the Midlanders will also be hoping to gain a first home win since the tail-end of the 2015 season! Under the stewardship of Tony Cousins, Gary Cronin and then Alan Mathews during the disastrous 2016 season, “De Town” failed to win a single league or cup match (excluding Leinster Senior Cup) on home soil Continue reading →