Fenn questions effort levels after Harps defeat

By Kieran Burke – @KieranBTS.

Longford Town manager Neale Fenn conceded for the first time this season he could have questions marks over his players effort levels following a dismissal display in defeat away to Finn Harps. Three-nil was the final score at Finn Park as the Midlands outfit fell further behind in the battle for promotion.

Individual mistakes and poor defending at set-pieces has dogged “De Town’s” First Division campaign to date and again on Friday night that exact combination haunted Longford once more as first an individual error by Mick McDonnell saw Nathan Boyle open the scoring right on the stroke of half-time, while on the hour mark Darren Meenan was adjudged to have brought his marker to the ground inside the penalty area in what was a lazy and mindless piece of defending from a Finn Harps corner. Mikey Place converted the spot-kick to double the Donegal clubs lead before new signing and man of the match Timmie Sobowale tapped home from close range following another poorly defended Harps corner routine.

Footage of Finn Harps third and final goal as Longford failed to cut out a routine set-piece attack. (Via Finn Harps Facebook Page).

Speaking to Shannonside FM after the game, Longford Town boss Fenn stated: “We’ve huffed and puffed in games recently, but we’ve never questioned their effort, that was probably the first time tonight we could question their effort.”

It’s been an incredible twist of fate over the past fortnight for Fenn and his players, who just fifteen-days ago defeated league leaders UCD 5-1 at the UCD Bowl to move within six-points of top spot. However, last weeks shock home defeat against Cobh Ramblers combined with last night’s dire display in Donegal now leaves “De Town” outside the play-off places.

At home to Wexford FC next Saturday, Fenn described how important the upcoming game at City Calling Stadium will be in terms of regaining the lost momentum of the past couple of weeks.

“It’s massive for us, the lads traveling up here in numbers again tonight you’re looking over at them when we are 3-0 down and it’s depressing. Two weeks ago, we go to UCD and win and draw them back to within four points but they won again tonight which means the title is probably gone for us and that’s heart-breaking.”

Craig Walsh and Dean Dillon featured from the start at Finn Park on Friday night, Walsh making his return to the club after a very short stint with crisis club Bray, while Dillon was making his first start after a loan move from Shamrock Rovers. Following the defeat to Finn Harps, Fenn admitted he is looking to add more proven quality to his squads before the end of the July transfer window.

“We need to make signings, we need to freshen it up a little bit. We’ve been killed by injuries, so we need to make a few new signings and look to strengthen a few areas.”

When pushed for an insight on to what areas of the team may be added to in particular, Fenn was open and honest in his assessment that the back-four would certainly need shoring up in the window.

“We do need cover in defence, that’s quite obvious we are bare bones in defenders.” There’s no names but we’ve been in for players but they’ve either decided to go somewhere else, but we need players that will come in and challenge our players for a starting place not ones for the future and that’s not always easy to find in the July window.”