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Shamrock Rovers 3 Longford Town 2: Max Blanchard was the unlikely matchwinner for Shamrock Rovers with two second half goals at Tallaght Stadium last night.
The victory stretched Rovers unbeaten start to the season to 13 games. But they were made to work desperately hard by Longford who, with a pinch of fortune, might have taken home a point.
On a wet surface conducive to the ball being whipped around, Rovers started intensely and were rewarded within six minutes when Gavin Brennan followed up to smash in the rebound.
Longford were deservedly level on 32 minutes when Pat Flynn found the corner of the net with a glancing header.
Cregg, Keith Fahey and Mikey Drennan all had chances before Rovers’ pressure told on 68 minutes. Poor marking from a corner saw central defender Blanchard stab home at the back post.
Two minutes later Blanchard had a lucky escape as be appeared to trip Shaw in the area. The penalty wasn’t given, though, with Longford manager Tony Cousins sent to the stands for his protests.
Within a further three minutes the big Frenchman got his second goal of the game when again left unmarked to head home a free kick from substitute Marty Waters.
Town didn’t lie down and substitute Kalem Simon shot home from Salmon’s headed pass on 83 minutes.
SHAMROCK ROVERS: Hyland; Madden, Kenna, Blanchard, Byrne; Miele (waters, 60), Cregg, Fahey, G. Brennan; Drennan (McCaffrey, 90+2), North (McCabe, 75).
LONGFORD TOWN: Skinner; Sullivan, Rossiter (Mulhall, h/t), Flynn (Tyrell, 73), Deady; Salmon, O’Connor, Rice, Ben Mohamed; Shaw, O’Sullivan (Simon, 67).
REFEREE: Derek Tomney (Dublin)
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