Molloy gives Bohemians edge

 

Bohemians have duly moved to within three points of leaders Shelbourne at the top of the Premier Division table. One suspects, however, that on this form Dermot Keely and his players can rest easy over Christmas as the challenge for their title from Phibsboro is not what it appeared a month or so ago.

Longford ran this game for long stretches and more than redeemed themselves for a dreadful display when they last came up against Bohemians. Indeed, so positive was Longford's start that they might have been two goals up inside 12 minutes.

The first chance came from a free kick taken by the influential Stephen Gavin. The ball was knocked back across goal by Keith O'Connor and Stephen Kelly was left unmarked at the back post, his volley forcing a good stop from Wayne Russell.

Slack defending again forced Russell to the rescue when O'Connor turned superbly to put himself in on goal, but the goalkeeper stood his ground in a one-to-one.

Bohemians' Trevor Molloy, however - playing on the left of midfield - was leading Longford's inexperienced rightback Enda Kenny on a merry dance. Molloy skipped by Kenny on 24 minutes to set up a glorious chance for Anthony Hopper only for the midfielder to tap the ball into the arms of Stephen O'Brien.

But there was no reprieve three minutes later as Longford's bright start was stopped in its tracks as Molloy worked the oracle for Bohemians' winning goal.

Once again the former Irish under-21 international cut open the Longford defence. He cleverly picked out Simon Webb who squared the ball to Hopper to drill home from just inside the box.

Unbowed, Longford almost levelled within two minutes when Stuart Byrne put Farrell in on Russell who once more made a gallant stop.

Longford continued to take the game to Bohemians in the second half. The home goal led a charmed life from a stunning Stuart Byrne free kick on 70 minutes, the shot from 25 yards coming back off a post. It wasn't Longford's night as Russell again frustrated Stephen Kenny's team with a great stop from Stephen Gavin 10 minutes from time.

Bohemians: Russell; O'Connor, Maher, Hill, Webb; Hopper, Hunt, Caffrey, Molloy; Crowe, O'Neill. Subs: O'Keeffe for Hill (58 mins), Markey for O'Neill (71 mins).

Longford town: O'Brien; E Kenny, Smith, McNally, Coyle; Gavin, Kelly, S Byrne, V Perth; Farrell, O'Connor. Subs: Zellor for O'Connor inj (43 mins), Notaro and Holt for Perth and Zellor (both 86 mins).

Referee: J O'Neill (Waterford).