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Stacey saves penalty as Longford Town secure draw after controversial opening goal

Aaron Dobbs appeared to be offside after putting the visitors in front after 12 minutes.

The action took place at Finn Park.
The action took place at Finn Park.
Image: Tommy Dickson/INPHO

Finn Harps 1

Longford Town 1

LEE STACEY SAVED a penalty from Barry McNamee of Finn Harps as Longford Town secured a draw after going ahead through a hugely controversial opening goal in Ballybofey.

Eight minutes into the second half, Steacy went to his right to push away McNamee’s spot kick after Aaron Dobbs had handled from Tunde’s Owolabi’s header. Both Dobbs and Owolabi had scored for their respective sides in the first quarter.

Wouldn’t you just love to see Ollie Horgan and one of the fourth officials from the SSE Airtricity League on First Dates?

This evening it was Neil Doyle’s turn, although the Harps manager seemed more than correct in his complaints after Dobbs, looking at least three yards offside, had shot Longford into a 12th minute lead.

Dobbs took a touch to steady himself and might’ve even thought for a second he was off but correctly played to the whistle. Dylan Grimes’ shot beforehand was excellent, coming down off the crossbar and back out, with Aaron Robinson heading it back in and Dobbs did what a striker would do.

Alan Sherlock, the nearside assistant referee, flagged for offside, only to discuss the matter with referee Ben Connolly, who overruled him and awarded the goal. Horgan, well …, wasn’t pleased. The only thing that it might’ve been was the referee considered that Ethan Boyle, the Harps defender who challenged Robinson, got the touch.

Six minutes later, it was 1-1 with Owolabi finishing with aplomb from 12 yards or so after being set free by McNamee, who played the Belgian into space. Just when it looked like the foundations were being laid for an exciting contest, the remainder of the show didn’t really match the curtain-opener.

Harps created a few half-chances between then and the break, with Adam Foley and Will Seymore passing up chances, while Grimes went the closest of the lot with a ping from outside the area that forced McGinley into a fine one-handed save.

After the break, following McNamee’s penalty miss there was endeavour from both teams – a fact shown when Paddy Kirk and Karl O’Sullivan challenged for a ball so committed and fair it almost burst on the simultaneous contact – but neither did enough to win it.

Finn Harps: Mark Anthony McGinley; Ethan Boyle, Shane McEleney (Sean Boyd 75), Kosovar Sadiki, Johnny Dunleavy; Mark Coyle, Will Seymore (Conor Barry 63); Karl O’Sullivan, Barry McNamee, Adam Foley; Tunde Owolabi (Ryan Rainey 90+4).

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Longford Town: Lee Steacy; Shane Elworthy, Aaron O’Driscoll, Joe Manley, Paddy Kirk; Dean Zambra; Aaron McNally (Karl Chambers 85), Aodh Dervin, Aaron Robinson, Dylan Grimes, Aaron Dobbs (Rob Manley 79).

Referee: Ben Connolly.

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About the author:

Alan Foley  / Reports at Finn Park

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