Kieran Sadlier was on the mark as Sligo Rovers recorded victory in their penultimate home game of the season. The winger profited from a blunder from Ryan Coulter in the 13th minute to move Rovers within five points of Shamrock Rovers in fourth place with two games to go.
The Bit O'Red were well on top throughout the opening half and saw off a stout Longford challenge in the second period as the away side pressed hard for a way back into the tie.
Alan Mathews side travelled up the N4 for the second time this season in search of their first league win over Rovers in over two and a half decades. Languishing at the foot of the table, the midlanders began this game on the back foot. Mick Leahy fired Sadlier's cross over the crossbar early on before Sadlier put the Bit O'Red ahead.
Tobi Adebayo-Rowling, ever present for Rovers this year, picked out the former Irish underage international in space on the Rovers right. Moving goalward, Sadlier's low shot at goal was then fumbled by Coulter who let the ball slip between himself and his post.
Don Cowan passed up a decent opportunity to level proceedings on 18 but could only head wide, Peter McGlynn's swung cross from the right wing.
Cretaro was denied by a smart block from James Mulhall on 23 before shooting wide from a speculative distance two minutes later.
Longford were fortunate not to be reduced to ten men just short of the half hour. Coulter brought down Phil Roberts just inches from his area but referee Robert Harvey adjudged a Longford defender to be in a covering position and Coulter was shown just a yellow. Roberts bending the resulting set piece around the post as Dave Robertson's troops held the lead at the interval.
Rovers net minder Ciaran Nugent was aiming for a fifth clean sheet in a row and went full stretch to see Kevin O'Connor's curler safely around his post, five minutes into the second period.
Sadlier was just short of Cretaro's cross on 58 as the Sligo veteran's cross narrowly evaded the midfielder's run.
With Wexford cruising to victory at home to Galway, the away side knew that nothing but a win would all but confirm their relegation.
O'Connor clipped his next effort narrowly wide on 67 after Conor Powell's initial shot was deflected into the path of the former Bray man. While Philip Gannon slammed his 20-yard drive straight into the hands of Nugent.
Substitute Daniel Kearns was inches away from making contact with Cretaro's ball at the front post with eleven minutes to go.
Gannon kept the pressure on the Connaught side as Rovers captain Craig Roddan got a foot to his goalward strike on 82. While David O'Sullivan got his acrobatic attempt all wrong two minutes later as he latched on to the end of an O'Connor corner.
Pat McCann went close to securing the points for Sligo one minute from time. Cretaro got on to the end of Roberts' over-cooked cross before he supplied McCann, whose turn past a Longford defender bought him time and space. His resulting effort wasn't as successful however as he saw his shot drift over Coulter's crossbar.
Sligo Rovers: Ciaran Nugent; Tobi Adebayo-Rowling, Mick Leahy, Gavin Peers, Gary Boylan; Kieran Sadlier (Daniel Kearns 67), Craig Roddan, Jimmy Keohane, Pat McCann; Raffaele Cretaro; Phil Roberts.
Longford Town: Ryan Coulter; James Mulhall, Noel Haverty (Rhys Gorman 63), Pat Flynn, Conor Powell; Don Cowan, Peter McGlynn, Kevin O'Connor, Philip Gannon (Kealan Dillon 83), Kaleem Simon (Eddie D'sane 65); David O'Sullivan.
Referee: Robert Harvey.