By Aaron Clarke (@Aaron_c91)
A goal in either half from ex Shels players Gavin Boyne and Dylan McGlade was enough to see Longford Town ease into the third round of the EA Sport Cup at Tolka Park on Monday evening.
With the sides clashing for the second time in three days after Longfords 3-1 victory at City Calling Stadium on Saturday evening, both Owen Heary and Alan Matthews chose to rotate their sides with the hosts retaining only Alan Byrne and Aaron Ashe from Saturdays defeat, while Matthews chose to make five alterations.
After their first home victory since October 2015 last Saturday, Longford continued where they left off at the weekend and it was McGlade, who had the Towns first opportunity when the winger was allowed to twist and turn on the edge of the box before unleashing a low effort, however, his strike sailed harmlessly wide.
As the visitors continued to dominate the early exchanges both Chris Lyons and Mark Langtry were next to try their luck, but like McGlade they failed to trouble the Shelbourne goal.
Shels first opportunity of the half arrived after quarter of an hour when Niall Lanigan picked out Alan Byrne from a free-kick, but the central defender could only head into the side netting.
With the visitors confidence continuing to grow as they began to limit Shels opportunities, the host were almost caught napping from a quick free-kick as the ball was played to Karl Chambers, but the winger failed to trouble Jamie Quinn from the edge of the box.
Despite failing to test the Shels shot-stopper, Longford continued to create opportunities and Lyons was next to try his luck, but his shot from distance sailed over the bar. Moments later, Longford had another excellent opportunity to open the scoring, but Cody Mulhall failed to find the target with his headed effort from close range.
Longford pressure was finally rewarded six minutes from half-time when Boyne, who spent two seasons with Shels latched onto a lovely flighted cross from Chambers before directing his headed effort past Quinn at the front post.
As McGlade continued to torment his old side down the left flank, it was he who had the first second-half opportunity, but he failed to find the target with his long range strike.
Less than 60 seconds later, Shels should have equalised after Jackson Ryan picked out David O’Leary with a wicked cross, but ex Shels shot-stopper Jack Brady produced a sublime low save to deny the midfielder from close range.
With Longford being restricted to efforts from distance, Shels had another chance to equalise after Longford failed to clear a long range free-kick, the ball fell to second-half substitute James English and his first time volley was excellently saved by Brady.
After weathering the Shels storm, Longford sealed victory with their second goal 15 minutes from time when the Reds failed to clear a cross from McGlade, the ball was recycled to the winger and he cut inside past several Shels defenders before firing low past the Quinn.
Moments later, Longford almost added a third goal through Kevin O’Connor, but the substitute failed to find the target from close range.
Despite Adam Evans flashing a late cross across the Longford box, the Town held out for a deserved 2-0 victory and they return to league action this Saturday when they travel to Cobh Ramblers while Shelbourne host UCD on Friday evening at Tolka Park.
Shelbourne FC: Jamie Quinn; Lorcan Shannon, Alan Byrne, Jack Tuite, James Brown; Jackson Ryan, Niall Lanigan, David O’Leary, Dylan Grimes (Adam Evans 68’); Chris Lyons, Aaron Ashe (James English 52’).
Subs Not Used: Dean Delaney, Derek Prendergast, Mark Higgins, Doyle Rooney, Reece McEnteer.
Bookings: Alan Byrne (61’)
Longford Town: Jack Brady; Mark Langtry, Stephen Walsh, Rhys Gorman, Tristan Hoffmann; Dylan McGlade, Kealon Dillon, Gavin Boyne, Dean Zambra, Karl Chambers (Kevin O’Connor 69’); Cody Mulhall (Aidan Friel 77’).
Subs Not Used: Shane Fagan, Enda Curran, Daniel O’Reilly, Darragh Doherty, Aodh Girvan.
Referee: Eoghan O’Shea
Man of the Match: Dylan McGlade (Longford Town FC)