St Pat’s back on track as Longford in freefall

Waterford's surprise victory in Dundalk on Friday night means Longford, without a win now in 14 games since the opening night of the season, slump to the bottom of the table.
St Pat’s back on track as Longford in freefall

Ronan Coughlan of St Patrick's Athletic

Airtricity Premier Division

Longford Town 1 

St Patrick’s Athletic 3 

Second half strikes from Mattie Smith and Ronan Coughlan got St Pat’s back on track as they had far too much for sorry Longford Town at Bishopsgate.

Victory, only their second in seven games, sees Saints close the gap on joint leaders Shamrock Rovers and Sligo Rovers to three points.

Waterford's surprise victory in Dundalk on Friday night means Longford, without a win now in 14 games since the opening night of the season, slump to the bottom of the table.

Town welcomed 200 fans back under new government guidelines with both managers, Saints’ Stephen O’Donnell and Town’s Daire Doyle, in the stand with them, along with Town assistant manager John Martin, all serving touchline bans.

With St Pat’s in control from the first whistle, goalkeeper Lee Steacy kept Town in the game with saves from a Paddy Barrett header and then a terrific stop from Coughlan’s free kick.

Dominant Saints had a Smith goal ruled out for a handball on 24 minutes before the winger fired into the side netting 10 minutes later.

But a Pat’s goal was coming and it duly arrived on 41 minutes.

Having won Saints’ seventh corner of the game, Robbie Benson got on the end of John Mountney’s delivery to head past Steacy.

From having scarcely been in the game in the first half, a mistake gifted Town an unlikely equaliser three minutes into the second.

Keeper Vitezslav Jaros sliced an attempted clearance into the air with Alfie Lewis then adjudged to have bundled over Rob Manley inside the area to concede a penalty. Aaron Dobbs confidently sent Jaros the wrong way from the spot.

St Pat’s weren’t to be denied, though, as Smith blasted home the rebound on 64 minutes after Steacy could only parry a Chris Forrester shot.

Coughlan added the third goal with a fine header from substitute Darragh Burns’ cross on 81 minutes.

LONGFORD TOWN: Steacy; McNally, McDonnell, O’Driscoll, Kirk; Dervin, Zambra; Grimes (Thompson, h-t), Dobbs (Davis, 76), Robinson (Byrne, 69); R. Manley (McCabe, 84).

ST PATRICK'S ATHLETIC: Jaros; Mountney, Barrett, Desmond, Bermingham; Forrester (McCormack, 90+1), Lewis: King (Burns, 64), Benson, Smith (McClelland, 90+1); Coughlan.

Referee: Derek Tomney (Dublin).

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