Dundalk made it three wins in a row in the SSE Airtricity League with a hard fought 2-0 win over Longford Town at Oriel Park on Sunday evening.
After a goalless first half, the match sprung to life immediately after the break when goals from Patrick Hoban and Sean Murray kept the Lilywhites hopes of a top four finish alive going into the final day of the season.
Vinny Perth made one change from the side which defeated Drogheda United in the Louth derby with Greg Sloggett coming in for Sam Stanton who dropped to the bench. However Sloggett would only last 12 minutes into the match before Stanton came in to replace.
The opening saw both sides struggle to really get any sort of rhythm in possession and Rob Manley’s header for Longford Town was cleared off the line in anything that looked like a breakthrough.
Dundalk were struggling to create anything and it was understandable that there was a drop off from the intensity of Thursday night.
It wouldn’t be until the half hour mark that the home side threatened the Longford goal when Patrick Hoban did well to get his volley away however Lee Steacy was equal to it.
Michael Duffy also had a shot saved by Steacy however there was nothing else of note for the remainder aside from a couple of half chances for the visitors but nothing to worry Peter Cherrie in goal.
The Lilywhites didn’t have to wait long in the second half to take the lead though as a superb Duffy cross found the head of Hoban and his header went in off the crossbar giving Steacy no chance.
The goalkeeper was forced into action shortly after that again as he pulled off a good stop to push away a Duffy piledriver from the edge of the area.
Dundalk would double their advantage though, after Cherrie had almost allowed Longford back into it.
Will Patching did superbly to lay the ball into the path of Murray who had bombed forward beyond Hoban and his thunderous strike was past the goalkeeper and went in off the post.
The hosts were finding their groove as we approached the hour mark with Darragh Leahy finding Kelly but he couldn’t direct his header on target from point blank range.
Andy Boyle had a shot expertly blocked on the line before Duffy really should have got his second when he was through on goal however he sliced wide.
Some good link up play down the left from Leahy and Duffy saw the latter have another effort but this time it was saved by the net minder.
Substitute David McMillan showed some excellent movement to get in position from a Duffy cross however his effort was blocked with some last ditch defending.
Manley got his first chance of the second period towards the end of the game when he broke free on the left of the area however his low shot was easily saved by Cherrie with his legs.
Longford almost did in fact pull one back in the first minute of stoppage time when Robinson struck a fierce free-kick from the edge of the area however it came crashing off the crossbar and to safety.
That proved to be the final action of note as referee Adriano Reale drew the match to a close signaling three points for Dundalk to take them level with both Derry City and Bohemians going into the final weekends of the campaign.
DUNDALK: Peter Cherrie; Cameron Dummigan, Daniel Cleary, Andy Boyle, Darragh Leahy; Sean Murray (Sami Ben Amar 73), Greg Sloggett (Sam Stanton 12) Daniel Kelly (David McMillan 59), Will Patching, Michael Duffy; Patrick Hoban. Subs not used: Alessio Abibi (GK), Sonni Nattestad, Mayowa Animasahun, Ryan O’Kane, Mark Hanratty, Han Jeongwoo.
LONGFORD TOWN: Lee Steacy; Paddy Kirk, Michael McDonnell, Shane Elworthy, Aaron O’Driscoll; Dylan Grimes (Karl Chambers, Aodh Dervin, Aaron Robinson, Rob Manley, Darragh Nugent (Conor Davis 82); Dean Williams (Matthew O’Brien 82). Subs not used: Michael Kelly (GK), Dean Zambra, Ben Lynch, Aaron McNally, Dean Byrne, Joe Manley.
Referee: Adriano Reale.