On a crisp cool night in the Showgrounds, Sligo Rovers overcame Bohemians by the odd goal in five in Monday’s Airtricity Premier Division clash.
Despite the score line however it was the Gypsies who dominated the opening twenty minutes with Paddy Kavanagh, Steven Beattie and Adam Evans all opening up the shooting for the visitors but none were able to find the mark.
With key players like Gary Rodgers, Danny Ledwith, Paul O’Conor and Alan Keane missing, it took the home side 20 minutes to find their footing as Raffaele Cretaro sliced through the Bohs defence who, despite his best efforts, sent the ball sailing over the bar.
The visitors soon responded with their own shots on the replacement Rovers keeper – Richard Brush - with Kavanagh and Derek Pender probing for gaps in Brush’s defences but finding none.
After 39 minutes both sides still hadn’t found a way to break the deadlock until Rovers man David Cawley rifled a shot into the bottom right corner of Dean Delany’s net after a solid passage of play between fellow Rovers players Gary Boylan and Cretaro.
With five minutes to go before half time the Bit o’Red were up by one with the home fans roaring their appreciation but that jubilation was tested at the end of the half by two excellent chances for Bohs.
On the 45 minute mark Jake Hyland rifled a free in from 18 yards which found the head of Aiden Price but Rovers got lucky as the shot went left and wide; while in added time another header, this time taken by Craig Walsh, also missed its mark.
In contrast to the first half Rovers came out strong after the break; with just two minutes gone in the half Cawley rifled a shot from the left hand corner of the box which hit off the crossbar to the dismay of the home fans.
Bohs were not done however and answered Rovers in the 54th minute as an excellent run by Jack Memery down the right wing allowed Keith Buckley to cross the ball into Hyland who buried the ball in the back of Brush’s net.
Both sides went toe-to-toe for the next six minutes looking to break the deadlock once again and it wasn’t until the ball landed to Eamon Zayed - after a well placed header by Gavin Peers - that Rovers once again found themselves in front.
The Gypsies looked for an equalizer and had some chances as Beattie found himself alone in the box with Brush after a slight mistake by the Sligo keeper but was unable to capitalize as the Bit o’Red man was quick enough to clear the danger.
While a cross by substitute Karl Moore after 71 minutes found Kavanagh in the box but who had his powerful shot blocked by the Rovers defence.
The goals weren’t finished coming though as Danny North found the bottom left corner after a skilful cross by Cawley cut through the Bohs defence and found its man with three minutes to go.
The Gypsies weren’t going down without a fight and, after knocking on the door of the Rovers defence for more than half an hour, found their target after a quick cross by substitute Kevin Devaney found fellow substitute Dinny Corcoran who headed the ball into the back of the home side’s net.
So Rovers come away with a hard fought three points and now look forward to another home game against Drogheda United on the 20th of September while all eyes for Bohs fans will be on their FAI semi-final cup clash against St Patrick’s Athletic on Friday.
Sligo Rovers: Richard Brush; Gary Boylan, Regan Donelan, Gavin Peers (Gary Armstrong, 93), Evan McMillan; Raffaele Cretaro (Kalen Spillane,79), Seamus Conneely, David Cawley, John Russell, Danny North; Eamon Zayed.
Subs not used: Ross Taheny, Liam Flatley, Ryan McManus.
Booked: David Cawley (77), Gavin Peers (78)
Bohemians FC: Dean Delaney; Derek Pender, Aiden Price, Roberto Lopes, Jack Memery; Craig Walsh, Keith Buckley (Dinny Corcoran, 79), Jake Hyland (Kevin Devaney, 79) Adam Evans (Karl Moore, 69), Paddy Kavanagh, Steven Beattie.
Subs not used: Aaron Shanahan (gk); Ryan McEvoy,
Booked: Craig Walsh (72)
Referee: Padraigh Sutton.
Extratime.ie Man of the Match: David Cawley (Sligo Rovers).