Match Report: City 2-0 Longford Town

Match Report: City 2-0 Longford Town

Conor Drinan’s first-half brace was enough for Cork City to see off a struggling Longford outfit on Friday night as City ended their Turners Cross misfortune.

The win marks the first time since before the closure in April that City won a game at The Cross, with their previous three home games ending in a draw.

Evan McLaughlin returned to Tim Clancy’s starting eleven after the converted full-back missed his side’s Bank Holiday Monday game against UCD through suspension, as he was among the three changes alongside Greg Bolger who returned to the starting eleven, with exciting Cork City academy attacker Harvey Skieters handed his first league of start of his career.

Wayne Groves named just a single change to his side following their 2–2 draw in Wexford previously, with his side still hampered by as many as seven injuries currently. Irish-Brazilian youngster Guilherme Rego Priosti replaced captain Shane Elworthy.

City began the game well, with Cian Bargary sending a ball down the wing to Jack Doherty, who set himself up with a great touch, but his subsequent shot was saved by Town goalkeeper Jack Brady.

Greg Bolger came close with a curling strike inside the box fifteen minutes in, but his effort was also stopped by Brady.

Debutant Harvey Skieters was keen to impress, and he nearly assisted Conor Drinan in the 18th minute, but Drinan should have done better from inside the box, as he sliced his shot wide.

City were putting the Longford defence under major pressure with every attacking move, and after a series of City corners, Cian Coleman rose and got his head on McLaughlin’s inswinger, only narrowly directing his header over the bar.

Madagascan international Bastién Hery was the first player into the referee’s book, being booked for an aggressive push on Jack Doherty inside the half hour.

Thirty-six minutes into the game Evan McLaughlin’s free kick caused chaos in the Longford box, with Charlie Lyons’ initial header saved by Jack Brady, with the follow-up falling to Darragh Crowley, but Crowley somehow missed the open goal and only struck the ball wide.

City finally broke the deadlock in the 38th minute, as Cian Bargary’s cross found Conor Drinan, who leapt like a salmon over his marker and headed home into the bottom corner in front of the Shed End.

The goal marked Drinan’s first league goal since May of 2023, while he played for Cobh Ramblers.

Drinan, with his head high after his goal, marked himself on the scoresheet once again just a few minutes later as he found himself one-on-one with the Longford keeper. His finish was impeccable, as he curled his shot into the top left corner of the goal with no Longford defenders in sight.

Drinan’s double gave City a healthy cushion heading into the break, with the first goal giving City a noticeable boost in confidence as they went on to net the second.

Harvey Skieters came close to a debut goal at the start of the second half, as Jack Doherty played him a through ball into the box, but he looked to be tripped by the oncoming goalkeeper, but the referee didn’t agree.

Skieters then almost set Cian Bargary up in the 55th minute, as he turned his marker and played Bagsy in, but the winger’s powerful shot missed the mark and soared off target.

City were by far the dominant side in the game, limiting Longford to just a handful of chances throughout the game.

Jack Doherty was a big threat to the tiring Longford defence in the second half, and he worked his magic in the 62nd minute, as he dribbled up the by-line towards goal and lashed a powerful driven ball across the box, with a Longford defender almost knocking the ball into his own net, only narrowly skimming past the post.

Sean Murray forced Jack Brady into another diving save from the subsequent corner kick, as McLaughlin chipped a pass to Murray at the edge of the box, and the midfielder struck the ball sweetly on the half-volley, but Brady was agile and parried the ball away from danger.

Fan favourite Barry Coffey was introduced to the game in the closing stages, and tried his luck with a curling shot from outside the box which was saved again by Longford’s goalkeeper.

Longford’s goalkeeper deserved praise for his second half performance, as City’s multiple chances were denied by some impressive saves, demonstrated again by a superb reflex save to deny Cian Murphy’s low strike in the 81st minute.

Longford were afforded one last opportunity for a consolation, as a clumsy foul on the edge of the box resulted in a Longford free, with Mohammed Boudiaf directing the set-piece into the bottom left corner, but Bradley Wade was not eager to let his clean sheet escape him, and the Englishman dived low to save it.

City will be very happy to return to winning ways, with many positives to take including Harvey Skieters’ solid debut, and Conor Drinan’s impressive attacking output.

City are back in action again at Turners Cross next Thursday in a Munster Derby as they take on Cobh Ramblers, as City look to continue their brilliant form over Rams this season following 3–0 wins in both previous league fixtures.

Longford Town make another trip to Munster next Thursday as De Town face Kerry FC in Tralee in an important clash at the foot of the table.

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