Sligo Rovers returned to second in the table following a comfortable 3-0 victory over Dundalk on Saturday night, Danny North with a brace and Gavin Peers getting a goal in between. All the goals came in the second half following a dull opening period with few opportunities.
The night didn't get off the best of starts for the home side as centre-back Jason McGuinness was ruled out after failing a late fitness test which caused manager Ian Baraclough to reshuffle his starting team.
After a cagey opening it took 11 minutes for the first opportunity of the game as Joseph Ndo picked up the ball 25 yards out but his effort was tame. Ben McLaughlin had a similar effort for Dundalk moments later with a bit more power, but it proved to be a comfortable save for Gary Rogers in the end.
Shane O'Neill had a glorious chance to give Dundalk the lead when he was put through by Michael Rafter, but the former Bray Wanderers man blazed his shot well over the bar. Minutes later, Sligo’s Danny North almost scored a spectacular overhead kick from an Alan Keane cross, but the ball in was just too high for the striker to connect.
Rovers began to look far more settled as Iarfhliath Davoren and Ross Gaynor both sent menacing balls into the box for Rafael Cretaro in quick succession, but he failed to make anything of either opportunity.
A nice move involving Romauld Boco and Rafael Cretaro eventually set up Lee Lynch for the next opportunity of the game, but the midfielder's long range effort was tame.
After a very dull ten minute spell, Dundalk looked like they had a penalty shout when it appeared the ball struck the hand of a Rovers defender. At the other end North had another effort, but it was tame like some before him.
Dundalk looked to have the best chance of the game approaching half-time as Robert Waters whipped a wonderful ball into the box for Rafter, but his powerful header was straight at Rogers. Rovers then had an even better chance as Cretaro sent an inch perfect pass towards Boco but his effort was only just over the crossbar.
After a dull first half, it took just four minutes of the second half to break as Lynch set up Raff Cretaro at an angle, but his ball across goal found Danny North who finished from close range from his third league goal of the season.
Just minutes later and it was 2-0. Ross Gaynor whipped a great ball into the box from a corner and Gavin Peers rose highest to send a bullet of a header past Peter Cherri who had no chance of saving it.
Stephen McDonnell had a chance to pull a goal back for the Lilywhites on the hour mark as Waters put him through, but he really should have made more of it as he shot straight at Rogers.
It was all Rovers once again after that McDonnell chance, with the Dundalk defence constantly being stretched and really doing well not to be further down by this point, with North, Peers, Cretaro and Lynch all spurning good opportunities to extend the home sides lead. Rommy Boco in particular causing all sorts of problems as he sent wonderful crosses into the box time and time again.
Gareth Coughlan finally fashioned another effort for Dundalk from distance which was deflected over, but the resulting corner was poor as possession was handed straight back to the home side.
A slick move involving Ndo and Boco almost resulted in goal number three for Alan Keane which would've been the icing on the cake of a lovely move, but the right-back couldn't steer his effort on target.
Keane had another opportunity to make it 3-0 when a nice pass was dinked through to him, but Cherrie done well to keep Keane from extending the lead. Ben McLaughlin then almost put the ball in the back of the net when Cretaro put a ball across goal, but luckily the right back saw it go behind the goal.
After all the efforts that could ripple the back of the net, Danny North finally added the third goal and his second of the game in the 90th minute as he was put through by Dillon. The Grimsby native struck the post but made no mistake second time of asking.
Sligo Rovers: Gary Rogers; Alan Keane (Marty Owen 90), Gavin Peers, Danny Ventre, Iarfhlaith Davoren; Lee Lynch, Romauld Boco, Joseph Ndo, Ross Gaynor (John Dillon 75); Danny North, Rafael Cretaro (Mark McGoldrick 90).
Unused Subs: Ciaran Kelly, David Cawley, Liam Martin.
Dundalk: Peter Cherrie; Ben McLoughlin, Liam Burns, Derek Foran, Dan Cunningham; John Mountney (Gareth Coughlan 70), Stephen McDonnell, Chris Shields, Robert Waters (Peter Thomas 77), Michael Rafter; Shane O'Neill (Gary Shanahan 60).
Unused Subs: Ger Hanley, Cian Byrne, Chris Reilly, Gareth Brady.
Bookings: McDonnell (63), Shields (64), Coughlan (79).
Referee: Paul McLaughlin.
Extratime.ie Man of the Match: Romauld Boco.