The El Classico rivalry returns this Tuesday night 4th April when Athlone Town play host to Longford in this rearranged 1st Round tie of the 2017 EA Sports Cup. Kick off in Athlone Town Stadium is scheduled for 7.45pm.
In this competition teams are likely to give fringe players a run so in truth the form counts for nothing but with games between these sides there is pride at stake and with both teams showing indifferent form this game allows both managers a chance to get a result on board which they hope with bring confidence to their side.
Both teams manged draws at the weekend in league action with Athlone coming from behind to snatch a last minute equaliser against Cabinteely which they deserved on their 2nd half performance but they will have to step up on their first 45 minutes especially if David O’Sullivan lines up for the visitors having scored a hat trick when the teams met in the league about 4 weeks ago and in turn becoming only the 2nd player to score an El Classico hat trick following Athlone Town’s Brian Duff 32 years earlier. Longfords were involved in a scoreless draw against league leaders Waterford FC who were reduced to 10 men on 56 mins.
The two teams play regularly in this competition going back to the old league cup having played on six occasions since 2007. The stats read Athlone 3 wins one of which was on penalties and Longford 3 wins. Longford 3 wins have come on the last 3 occasions the teams have played (204, 2013, 2011) while Athlones wins were in 2010, 2009 and 2007 which was won on penalties the season where Athlone made the 1/4 final only to be beaten 1-0 in Tolka Park by Shamrock Rovers whose goal was scored by Athlone Town club legend Andy Myler. This game also brought to an end Michael O’Connors second reign as manager of the club.
Athlone Town have won this cup as the league cup on 3 occasions (1979-80, 1981-82 and 1982-83 while they were also runners up in 1983/84 and1999/2000. Longford Town have also won this competition in 2004 while were runners up in 2003.
Athlone Town can welcome back Niall Scullion who sat out Frtiday nights draw against Cabinteely due to suspension for his sending off against Shelbourne the week previous. Kick off in Athlone Town Stadium is scheduled for 7.45pm.