McCrossan and Hanaphy on the mark as Mons maintain momentum

26 August 2010 No Comments by The Northern Standard

An early goal by Stephen McCrossan and a late, late strike by supersub Darragh Hanaphy ensured Monaghan United sidestepped a potential hangover from reaching the EA Sports Cup final only three days earlier when they accounted for an initially misfiring but finally dangerous Longford Town at Gortakeegan Friday night, writes Peter Hughes.

The Mons weren’t note-perfect in this one, but it’s a measure of a good side that they can eke out a win when the engine powering their performance putters rather than purrs.

McCrossan’s 20th minute strike – a flicked shot which arced past Aaron Shanahan and left the suspicion in the mind of a mis-hit rather than an audacious finish – settled United into a game which lulled steeply after the half-hour point.

It only reignited in its final third when a trio of substitutions by Longford boss Tony Cousins transformed his team from carthorses to a semblance of thoroughbreds, but the tricky pace and urgency brought by Jason Oladele in particular to their play wasn’t enough to breach the Mons defences.

Darragh Hanaphy, becoming the David Fairclough of the United bench, nodded home deep in added time to put a slightly flattering tilt on the scoreline and secure his side an exclusive hold of second spot as the First Division promotion race rounds its Tattenham Corner.

Seventy seconds in and Monaghan were almost caught cold by a brisk Longford attack. Debutant Craig Walsh steered an angled pass into the path of Lee Walsh and from ten yards out the striker forced Gabriel Sava into a flying fingertip save. Sava was just picking himself up when Mark Salmon flashed the ball back into the killing zone, but Walsh’s diving header from the cusp of the six-yard box cleared the crossbar.

FULL REORT IN THE NORTHERN STANDARD

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