With 30 minutes gone, Tullamore were 3-1 up and, playing against ten men, they looked set for an easy win but, thanks to a battling performance from Fairview and some kamikaze defending, they had to depend on a last minute goal to clinch all three points in this enthralling match.
They began brightly with Stephen Francis firing narrowly wide from twenty yards and with seven minutes gone they hit the front. Adrian Kelly sent in a searching cross from the right that was nodded on by Brian Francis and Jason Pohl was on the back post to force the ball home. Minutes later they were desperately unlucky not to increase their lead when a Kevin Duffy corner was knocked back to Brian Francis and the Tullamore captain crashed a tremendous shot off the inside of the left post.
With ten minutes on the clock they went further ahead with a candidate for goal of the season. Kevin Duffy picked the ball up in the centre circle and, spotting the keeper off his line, he sent a wonderful shot from fully 40 yards into the roof of the net.
Within minutes the visitors were back in the game when Alan Lynch was taken down in the area and Paul Hansard crashed the resultant spotkick into the roof of the net. They nearly levelled the game when Lynch broke clear in the inside right channel and flashed his shot inches outside the far post. With 25 minutes gone the home side went perilously close when Adrian Kelly and Brian Francis combined to pick out Stephen Francis but his cross shot was taken off the line. As they continued to press, great play between Jason Pohl and Matthew Carragher created an opening for Brian Francis and, when his shot was superbly parried by Lee Donoghue, the ball broke back to Stephen Francis and he drilled it into the bottom corner to put his side 3-1 in front. Fairview went close on the half hour when the dangerous Alan Lynch cut in from the left and fired in a wicked shot that Martin Cunningham did brilliantly to tip over but, from the resultant corner, Karl Reynolds was red carded for violent behaviour.
This setback seemed to galvanise the visitors and they reduced the arrears on 42 minutes when Derek Lynch neatly dispatched a left wing cross into the bottom left hand corner of the net. With a minute remaining in the first half Fairview nearly equalised when Paul Hansard cut the ball back to Paraic Galvin, but he missed his shot in front of goal as the interval arrived with the score 3-2 in Tullamore's favour.
With 55 minutes gone, Tullamore gifted Fairview the equaliser. In attempting to play the ball across their back four, they presented it to Alan Lynch in front of an open goal and he duly placed it in the empty net.
With an hour gone, great play between Matthew Carragher and Kevin Duffy sent Brian Francis clear but Lee Donoghue tipped his effort around the post. Carragher again went close when he got on the end of a Duffy corner but his shot flashed across the face of the goal. Then Duffy picked out Pohl, but his fine volley flew inches outside the right post. At the other end, Alan Lynch fired a great 20 yard effort narrowly over.
With Scott Delaney coming on, manager Jimmy Green switched to a three man backline as Tullamore went all out for the decisive score. Jason Pohl got on the end of a Carragher cross, but Donoghue brought off a fine save down low to his right.
With a minute remaining, Kevin Duffy fired the ball into the packed area and, when it broke to Matthew Carragher, the young midfielder drilled it unerringly into the bottom right hand corner to give his side all three points.
Playing for an hour with ten men, Fairview can count themselves unlucky to come away from Leah Victoria Park empty handed after such a brave performance. For Tullamore it was a hugely important win that keeps them well in the hunt for league honours. For the home side there were excellent contributions from Mark Gorman, Stephen Francis , Kevin Duffy and Matthew Carragher, with Karl Curran, Derek Lynch, Paul Hansard and Alan Lynch the pick of the visitors, but the man of the match award went to Tullamore's inspirational captain, Brian Francis.
Tullamore Town: Martin Cunningham, Stephen Duffy, Mark Gorman, Ken Doyle, Fergal Gorman, Adrian Kelly, Stephen Francis, Matthew Carragher, Jason Pohl, Kevin Duffy , Brian Francis. Subs: Ronan Kelly, Mark Connaughton, Scott Delaney, Mark Goodings.