By Diarmaid Doherty
Ruairí Keating missed a late penalty as Finn Harps were beaten again, this time by bottom of the table, Longford Town.
Finn Harps 0
Longford Town 1
The visitors hadn’t won a game in the league since the opening day of the season.
But they bagged all three points against a Harps side who must be wondering where their next goal, never mind next point, will come from.
They’ve now lost seven on the bounce and they haven’t scored in any of those games.
Keating though, should have brought a halt to that run but when presented with the chance to equalise with an 80th minute penalty, his tame effort was saved by Longford keeper, Ryan Coulter.
The penalty was awarded after the referee took the advice from his assistant who indicated that a foul on Dave Scully was committed just inside the area when the referee had initially awarded a free kick on the edge of the box.
Coulter however, saved Keating’s effort ensuring that Kevin O’Connor’s 17th minute goal was enough to give Longford the points
The pattern of this game would surely have been so different had Thomas McMonagle taken a great chance that came his way in the opening minute. Adam Hanlon’s found McMonagle 12 yards out but after controlling the ball, the defender’s shot was saved by Ryan Coulter.
Packie Mailey shot wide of the target soon after as Harps enjoyed a good start.
But it was the visitors who made the breakthrough on 17 minutes when a sloppy defensive header fell to Kevin O’Connor and from 25 yards, his looping effort dropped in over keeper Richard Brush.
The goal gave Longford a visible lift and they continued to creat some decent openings. Don Cowan saw a shot saved by Brush and the Harps keeper then produced a brilliant reaction shot to deny Peter McGlynn.
Harps looked nervy at the back and when Packie Mailey misjudged a dropping ball, Eddie Dsane nipped in but with only the keeper to beat, he shot wide.
It was a fortunate escape for Harps who didn’t do enough in the first half to worry a team who up until this game, had only won once all season.
Harps made changes after half time. Dave Scully came on for Packie Maily and then Ruairi Keating was brought on in place of Ryan Curran.
Harps created little in the way of any openings until Keating almost drew his team level on 73 minutes. He got in on the left and powered in a shot that clipped the crossbar and drifted wide.
Keating was at the centre of the action again ten minutes from the end when he saw his penalty saved by Coulter after Scully was fouled just inside the box.
It was the perfect chance for Harps to draw level, but it was not to be and it was Longford who celebrated what was for them, a rare win.
Finn Harps: Richard Brush, Josh Mailey, Ciaran Coll, Keith Cowan, Packie Mailey (Dave Scully 51), Thomas McMonagle, Gareth Harkin, Ethan Boyle (Kevin McHugh 82), Sean Houston, Ryan Curran (Ruairí Keating 65), Adam Hanlon.
Longford Town: Ryan Coulter, Jamie Mulhall, Conor Powell, Jan Mvita, Kealon Dillon, Kevin O’Connor, Philip Gannon, Don Cowan (Rhys Gorman 90), Peter McGlynn (David O'Sullivan 77), Pat Flynn, Eddie Dsane.
Referee: Ray Matthews.