Sligo Rovers ceded all three points to rivals Shamrock Rovers tonight at the Showgrounds, with Rory Gaffney’s goal enough to secure them the 1-0 triumph.
Effectively gutting The Bit O’Red second surge in the title race, the showcase from Stephen Bradley’s team asserts their ascendancy at the top of the SSE Airtricity League Premier Division.
Sligo will have been disappointed not to have pulsed more into the match after the 24th minute game changer but despite glimmers of promise their lack of creativity up front is to blame for the setback.
Before the kick-off this one promised to be a cracker with both sets of fans ensuring an electric atmosphere played host in the West.
The opening exchanges reflected that tense nature, Shamrock Rovers finding their feet up front with efforts from Barry Cotter, Gaffney and Ronan Finn while the same could be said for the The Bit O’Red attempting to push forward through Walter Figueira and Andre Wright.
As sure as rain is wet Greg Bolger managed to pick up a yellow card just before his ex-outfit secured the opener. Gaffney made good on his early bright sparks to slot the ball through Ed McGinty’s legs and into the back of the net.
This strike gave the visitors the confidence they needed to push on, simultaneously sending Sligo on the back foot with their tenacity. Forcing McGinty into a few tough saves, the score-line remained the same at the interval thanks to John Mahon and Co.
The start of the second half saw the same story with Hoops excelling in the driving seat, but as time went on tensions rose, cards were issued to Finn, Richie Towell, Roberto Lopes and Daniel Mandriou while Sligo picked away for an equaliser.
Opportunities from Melvyn Lorenzen and Figueira all came close, but even with the five minutes added time the absence of young John Kenny was evident as that moment never came for the home squad.
This was big win for Shamrock Rovers, as the result sees them six points clear of St Patrick’s Athletic and in poll position coming into the back end of the season.
A second half Lewis Banks header, was enough to give Sligo Rovers all three points, as they overcame Dundalk 2-1, in tonight’s SSE Airtricity League meeting at the Showgrounds.
Both sides found the net within 60 seconds of each other, Patrick Hoban on hand to put home a very scrappy opener for his side, before Andre Wright headed home from a Sligo corner to equalise.
It was Banks who got the winner in the 52nd minute, Greg Bolger sending in a free kick, with Banks looping a header over Alessio Abibi.
Tonight’s win sees Sligo sit just five points behind St. Pats, the home side remain in third as they look comfortable to remain in that spot until the end of the season.
The Bit O'Red had an early chance to go in front, Adam McDonnell striking a free kick, which just managed to go over the crossbar. Greg Sloggett got on the end of a Michael Duffy lay off but his shot flew over the bar.
Dundalk found the breakthrough in the 18th minute, a dictionary definition of a goalmouth scramble, as Patrico Hoban managed to flick on a goal bound strike by Will Patching, into the back of the Sligo goal.
Just seconds later the home side drew level, Andre Wright getting his first goal for the club, as he was on hand at the back post, to fire home after a short corner was taken quickly, with the ball managing to find its way to Wright at the back post.
With both teams all square at the break, the opening of the second half was a tight affair, Hoban managing the first major chance for his side, he got up well to meet a cross but his downward header was gathered safely by Ed McGinty in the Sligo goal.
The match winner came from the head of Lewis Banks, Greg Bolger sending a dangerous ball in from a free-kick, Banks running into the header, before sending a looping header over Abibi who couldn't keep it out. Their first back to back league win since June, as Dundalk suffer their 12th defeat of the season.
In front of a bumper crowd, Sligo Rovers found their first victory in 10 weeks with first half goals from Johnny Kenny and a wonder strike from Ryan DeVries just before half time the difference.
Kenny fired from a penalty, while DeVries effort came just before the break, in a game where St. Patrick's Athletic failed to take their chances.
Sligo got off to a dream start as Mahon was taken down to be awarded a penalty in the opening minutes with youngster Kenny stepping up and confidently smashing the ball past Pats Keeper Vitezslav Jaros.
As the half grew on the Dublin outfit were in the ascendancy peppering McGinty’s goal with shot after shot, the young Scot equal to each and every attempt.
There was a second penalty shout for the home side just after the half hour mark as Mahon was once again pulled down in the Pats box - however, he was adjudged to have been in an offside position initially.
Moments later a big chance arose for the Inchicore side as McGinty parried a Burns effort into the path of former teammate Ronan Coughlan, Mahon however, came to the rescue to deny the Limerick native with a massive interception.
As the side exchanged attacks DeVries stepped up with a wonder strike from 25 yards, aided by Andre Wright as he blocked off the defender, beating Jaros in the town end goal on the stroke of half time.
After the restart it was much of the same, with the Reds having the lion’s share of possession, as the Bit O’Red faithful roared on with Mahon, Garry Buckley and Greg Bolger all putting their bodies on the line for the pride of their shirt.
The game erupted as Kenny got away with catching Burns in the box, as the away side legitimately laid claim to a penalty, referee Paul McLoughlin thought otherwise.
Rovers emptied the bench with defensive reinforcement as well as a cameo debut for midfielder Melvyn Lorenzen as they held off a vociferous St. Pats side holding onto a tenth clean sheet of the season.
A quick turnaround for Rovers as they host Dundalk on Tuesday evening before the visit of league leaders Shamrock Rovers. Pats however host Wexford in the FAI Cup next weekend before also hosting the Tallaght side in the next round when they return to league action.
Ronan Boyce broke Sligo hearts as his late strike ensured Derry City moved within a point of the Bit O’Red.
A goal a piece for each side in the first half set up a lively affair at The Showgrounds.
Joe Thomson’s ninth minute thunderbolt was cancelled out by Johnny Kenny just before half-time.
Derry started strong with McGonigle testing the Rovers backline putting Lewis Bank under constant pressure while former Showgrounds man Junior pestered through the middle. It was when the latter was taken down by Niall Morahan 30 yards from goal that the Candystripes breached Ed McGintys goalmouth.
Danny Laffery teed up Thomson for a thunderous strike rattling the net leaving the Scot at full stretch, his attempt to save was just not enough.
The Bit O’Red grew into the game as Walter Figueira dragged them up by the scruff with some excellent solo play. Banks was finally getting forward and was able to put a few balls into the box, however nothing came from them.
Sligo inched close to equalising when Ronan Boyce's poor back pass fell to Kenny who fired straight at Nathan Gartside in the Derry goal.
Five minutes before the end of the half Banks once again found Byrne at the near post. His scuffed shot found youngster Kenny who bundled the ball into the back of the net to equalise for the home side.
Both teams pushed to go in ahead at the break however neither managed that breakthrough.
The second half started slow with neither side getting a foothold on the game, the visitors having the best of the opportunities early on.
As the reds grew into the half they pushed for the lead, at one point having every outfield player in the opposition half, however the efforts of Kenny, Gibson and Byrne could not find the net, with Byrne forcing Derry keeper Gartside into a superb save.
The introduction of Bastian Hery helped a struggling Derry gain some composure with Thomson, Malone and Junior all threatening. With Sligo manager Liam Buckley sending David Cawley in to counteract, his appearance almost ended as soon as it started with a wreckless challenge on Derry left back Danny Lafferty with referee Neil Doyle only issuing a yellow for the challenge.
Sligo threw everything at the city defence even bringing on Jamaican Romeo Parkes for the final 15 minutes, but it was Derry who found the winner late on through an unlikely source.
Right Back, Ronan Boyle latched onto a rebound eight yards from goal and smashed it past McGinty to seal all three points and the Candystripes fourth victory in a row, condemning Rovers to their seventh defeat on the trot.
Next up for Derry is the much-awaited cup tie with rivals Finn Harps on Friday night, while Sligo will have time to regroup as the travel to Drogheda on September 3rd
Sligo Rovers have suffered a shock defeat at the hands of local rivals Finn Harps at the Showgrounds, putting a massive dent in their Premier Division title hopes.
A win would have seen them level with second placed St Pat’s with a game in hand, but the 1-0 loss tonight drifts them further wayward from the top duo.
Kosovar Sadiki’s header was the only strike of the game, sending Sligo to despair and desperation but Harps home with all three points.
Johnny Kenny’s first half endeavour, that was saved off the line by Ethan Boyle and Mark McGinley; was the closest either of the sides came to crossing the goal threshold in the first half, but it wasn’t for the want of trying.
Mostly comprising of set pieces from both camps, the intensity was very high and the footballing quality colossal.
Just one minute after the interval Sadiki broke the deadlock when he met an exceptional Karl O’Sullivan free kick to power the ball into the back of the net.
Game management ensued as the away side looked to retain their lead in the volatile rumbling of The Showgrounds under lights.
The wet and windy conditions not aiding the case, a bombardment of cards turned out in combination with the rising tensions. With seven players booked in total upon the final whistle, one of which included a second yellow and subsequent red sending Mark Coyle to the stands.
Harps were taxed six minutes added time for their ploys, and it came down to the wire as to whether a late equaliser was to come from The Bit O’Red.
Had it not been for a few last ditch saves by Mark McGinley it may well have come, but the keeper and his two centre backs (Sadiki and Dave Webster) are to be accoladed with the triumph as their display as a trio is what won it for the third from bottom team in the end.
Sligo now go back to the drawing board, having been knocked out of the FAI Cup, Europa Conference and league running, all in the space of a month.
Dale Hollands last minute strike dumped Sligo Rovers out of the FAI Cup, as Cork City advanced to the second round this evening.
A brace from Jamaican Romeo Parkes was not enough for the Bit O’Red as goals from Beineon O’Brien Whitmarsh and Dylan McGlade either side of half time for City were sufficient to cancel out the summersaulting strikers' goals.
Rovers started on the front foot taking the game to the Leesiders from the get-go and were not left to wait long. An unforced error saw Mark McNulty drop the ball right in front of Parkes; who struck from close range just before the quarter-hour mark.
From here on it looked like this was going to be a walk in the park for the home side as Cork sat back and absorbed attack after attack for the next 15 minutes.
City's first real spell of possession came around the 25-minute mark, with an excellent display of teamwork and patience; as a 20-plus passing move culminated in a beautifully taken goal by Beineon meaning the side went in level at the break.
The second half saw some early changes with Keogh replacing Morahan for Rovers; and the experienced Steven Beattie being forced off through injury, his replacement, Holland.
Sligo continued to take the game to Cork, but the Rebel Army were much more confident this half and had an appeal for a penalty turned down by the referee, instead awarding a free to the home side.
Moments later Shane Blaney left the man in the middle no choice but to point to the spot as he lunged in to win the ball taking out Cian Murphy in the process.
McGlade, who loves to score against Sligo in the Cup; stepped up and calmly slotted the ball into the back of the net, sending keeper Luke McNicholas the wrong way, to give the away side the lead for the first time in the game.
As the Sligo faithful cried out for the introduction of academy starlet Johnny Kenny and former Derry star Walter Figueira, whom could be seen warming up on the sideline, Romeo Parke popped up with an equaliser for the Bit O’Red convincing manager Liam Buckley to stick with his side on the field.
Sligo were forced into a change at the back with Kane replacing the experienced Garry Buckley, something Cork sought to exploit.
With the Leesiders pushing for an unlikely winner the ball dropped to Holland who turned and smashed it into the bottom corner of McNicholas’ net to give the 21-year-old man from Middleton his first senior career goal.
With eight minutes shown of added time, Sligo manager Buckley eventually unleashed Kenny and Figueira in the 94th minute but it was too little too late as Cork held on to go through to the next round of the cup.
Next up for Sligo the host Dundalk on Saturday evening in the Premier Division while Cork host UCD on Friday night at Turners Cross.