Longford needed penalties to see off Mervue over an action packed 120 minutes at the City Calling StadiumLongford United set up a promotion-relegation playoff with Bray Wanderers after seeing off First Division rivals Mervue United with a 3-0 penalty shootout victory.
Mervue United headed into the Second leg of the Airtricity First Division play-off with their future still unknown, 1-0 ahead on aggregate from the previous leg in Fahey’s field they travelled to the City Calling stadium hoping to keep their club alive for another game.
As the game kicked off Mervue started where they left off last week attacking Longford at any opportunity and their efforts paid off on the 7th minute when Jason Molloy placed a well taken free kick over the wall and into the left side of the net leaving the keeper helpless.
In the 8th minute there were shouts for a red card from the home fans as Mervue keeper Conor O'Malley picked up the ball outside the right side of the box with the referee only producing a yellow card.
The rain started to pour down heavy as the half hour mark approached seeing a change to the flow of the game with Ryan Connolly producing some spectacular shots from outside the box to test the Mervue keeper with the ball being affected by the surface of the pitch.
Longford’s pressure paid off in the 29th minute when Daniel Purdy dipped the ball over the keeper and into the bottom right of the net after nice build up play from the Longford attack. Longford's attackers earned 3 corners in a row but were unable to get a vital goal before the half time whistle was blown.
In the second half the match seemed to have settled down from the high tempo of the first half with Longford the only team creating chances in the first 15 minutes. Longford’s efforts paid off in the 65th minute when a whipped in corner was toe poked by David O’Sullivan onto the cross bar with the referee deciding the ball had crossed the line on the way down.
The home team pushed for a winner as the game looked dead only minutes before. The equalising goal seemed to breathe a new lease of life into the game as Longford continued to press. Longford’s fortunes continued as Mervue were taken down to 10 men with a second yellow card for Ryan Manning with only 10 minutes remaining.
Longford were unable to score before the 90 minutes were up which included yet another strike off the crossbar as the match went into extra time. Both teams continued to apply pressure and it only took 12 minutes for David O’Sullivan to score his second of the game with a header into the top left of the goal as the stadium erupted in celebration putting Longford ahead on the night.
In the second half of injury time Mervue created chances in an attempt to pull level but were unable to get through the Longford keeper as the game looked over with the home team keeping the ball until the second minute of added time with the last kick of the game Paul Sinnot came up with a masterpiece out of nowhere taking the game into penalties.
Longford won the game eventually on penalty’s scoring all three of their shots as Mervue were stopped on all attempts. Longford go through and are one step closer to Premier Division football as they travel to Bray on Monday night.