James Akintunde's stoppage time strike rescues a point for Derry City against Longford Town

Derry City 1 Longford Town 1

Friday, 7th May 2021, 7:49 pm
Updated Friday, 7th May 2021, 7:50 pm
Derry City defender Ciaran Coll attempts to get past Longford's Dylan Grimes at the Ryan McBride Brandywell Stadium. Picture by Kevin Moore.

JAMES AKINTUNDE spared Derry City's blushes with a 93rd minute equaliser against Longford Town

Rob Hanley's close range strike on 75 minutes gave Longford the lead against the run of play as the Midlanders looked certain to clinch a second win over Derry this season.

However, Derry dug deep in the closing stages and Akintunde found the net after a late onslaught for his second of the season.

David Parkhouse fires wide of the net in the first half against Longford Town. Picture by Kevin Moore

It was no more than Derry deserved as Eoin Toal twice had headers cleared off the line but the Candystripes' wait for a home win stretched to seven games.

Higgins made three changes from the team which lost to rivals Finn Harps on Monday night with David Parkhouse, Jack Malone and Ciaran Coll restored to the starting line-up.

Danny Lafferty, Joe Thomson and Brendan Barr all dropped to the bench.

Derry began with intent and after sustained pressure in the opening stages Will Patching's corner kick floated towards the back posty where Ein Toal rose highest but his header was turned over the crossbar by Michael Kelly.

From another Patching corner found Toal omn 14 minutes but this time the skipper's header was cleared off the line by Longford captain, Dean Zambra.

City keeper Nathan Gartside's misplaced goalkick on 22 minutes found the feet of Dylan Grimes just outside the penalty area but the Longford winger's touch let him down and the danger was cleared by Boyce.

Longford finally tested the Derry keeper on the half hour mark when Shane Elworthy crossed from the right and Aaron Robinson's close range header was saved comfortably by Gartside.

Parkhouse came closest to the breakthrough five minutes before the interval when he latched onto a long ball over the top but the striker screwed his shot narrowly wide of the back post.

Patching dispossessed Aodh Dervin 60 seconds after the restart and his powerful strike was parried away by Kelly. Parkhouse couldn't get enough on his header from the rebound and when the ball eventually fell to Patching, the Englishman fired over the bar.

Coll sent in a dangerous cross from the left and Parkhouse headed towards the far corner but Kelly managed to get a strong hand to it at full stretch to palm it away from goal.

Derry had claims for a penalty on 67 minutes when Akintunde got past Michael McDonnell inside the area and when the Longford defender attempted to get back in position the Derry striker fell to the ground. Referee Rob Harvey waved away the protests as play continued.

At the other end McDonnell chipped the ball into the Derry penalty area and Manley nodded it down, held off the defender and fired into the corner of the net to break teh deadlock on 75 minutes.

Derry sub Patrick Ferry forced a smart save from Kelly in the final minute before Toal again saw his header cleared off the line as the home side pressed desperately for an equaliser.

And with the last kick of the game Akintunde powered home his shot from 12 yards to deny Longford victory.

Derry City: N. Gartside; R. Boyce, E. Toal, C. McJannet, C. Coll; W. Fitzgerald (C. McLaughlin 75), C. Harkin (P. Ferry 81), J. Malone, J. Akintunde; W. Patching; D. Parkhouse; Subs Not Used - J. Lemoignan, M. McChrystal, D. Cole, D. Lupano, D. Lafferty, J. Thomson, B. Barr.

Longford Town: M. Kelly; S. Elworthy, M. McDonnell, A. O'Driscoll, K. Chambers;, D. Grimes, A. Robinson (A. Bolger 68), A. Dervin, D. Zambra, D. Byrne (C. Thompson 60); R. Manley; Subs Not Used - L. Steacy, A. McCabe, M. O'Brien, L. Dennison, S. Barnes, J. Manley, B. Lynch.

Referee - Rob Harvey (Dublin).