Homepage image courtesy of John Doyle
Sligo Rovers moved one step closer to the Airtricity Premier League trophy with a 3-0 win over Dundalk on Monday night. A first-half goal from Mark Quigley and second-half goals from Gavin Peers and Liam Buchanan sealed a comprehensive win for the Bit o’Red.
Sligo Rovers welcomed Ross Gaynor back from suspension as Pascal Millien dropped to the bench. Darius Kearns had to do without three of Friday’s starting eleven for the trip to Sligo. John Mountney and Mark O’Brien were missing through suspension and Lorcan Shannon was out with a thigh injury.
Gary Shanahan returned from suspension and both Stephen McDonnell and Liam Burns started.
It took just eleven minutes for the hosts to open the scoring. Mark Quigley and Lee Lynch broke forward and Lynch gave the ball to the former Dundalk striker Quigley who slotted past Peter Cherrie easily to give Ian Baraclough’s men the lead.
An injury to Alan Keane early on meant that Ian Baraclough had to make his first change after just 25 minutes, bringing on Pascal Millien in place of the Galway man. Seamus Conneely switched to right-back, Gaynor moved to left-back and Pascal Millien filled in for Gaynor on the left wing.
Just four minutes later, the league leaders had to make their second change of the night. Mark Quigley picked up a knock and Liam Buchanan replaced him in a straight swap.
Mark Griffin had the best of Dundalk’s early chances forcing two saves out of Gary Rogers but was unable to trouble the Meath man. Sligo Rovers went in search of a second just before half-time and were unlucky not to double their lead through substitute Liam Buchanan.
Sligo man Raffaele Cretaro lobbed the ball over the Dundalk defence for the former Dunfermline striker, who was one-on-one with Peter Cherrie, but he hit it straight at the Scottish ‘keeper.
Sligo’s search for a second didn’t last too long as they doubled their lead just four minutes into the second half. Ross Gaynor’s free-kick from the right was tapped in by defender Gavin Peers.
Liam Buchanan was on the lookout for his first goal for the Bit o’Red and he came agonisingly close when he collected the ball from Haitian Pascal Millien and struck from inside the box but Chris Shields got in the way to block it.
The visitors struggled to create any chances and a poor backpass from Danny Ventre gifted them a golden opportunity, as Stephen McDonnell latched on to it and hit it low past Gary Rogers. But the effortit came back off the post.
The momentum was with Rovers from then on and Pascal Millien went close when he cut in from the right and left a few Dundalk players behind . His dipping effort went over the Lilywhites’ defence but it was too high and just hit the roof of the net.
A third goal for Sligo looked likely and it came on 86 minutes through Liam Buchanan, with his first for the club. Peter Cherrie failed to deal with Josph Ndo’s in swinging corner and, unfortunately for the goalkeeper, Buchanan was on the line to tap home.
There would be no time for a fourth Sligo goal, but a 3-0 victory will have pleased the crowd of 3265.
Sligo Rovers: Gary Rogers; Alan Keane (Pascal Millien,25), Jason McGuinness, Gavin Peers, Seamus Conneely; Raffaele Cretaro, Danny Ventre (David Cawley, 84), Joseph Ndo, Lee Lynch, Ross Gaynor; Mark Quigley (Liam Buchanan, 29).
Subs not used: Richard Brush, Jeff Henderson, John Dillon, Ryan Connolly.
Dundalk: Peter Cherrie; Nathan Murphy, Derek Foran, Liam Burns (Paul Walsh, 53), Paul Whelan; Stephen McDonnell, Chris Shields, Stephen Maher, Gary Shanahan (Chris Reilly, 72); Mark Griffin, Michael Rafter.
Subs not used: Bob McKenna, Philip McCabe, Conor McDonnell, William Woods, Barry Conlon.
Bookings: Paul Whelan (41), Mark Griffin (79).
Referee: Tom Connolly.
extratime.ie Man of the Match: Lee Lynch (Sligo Rovers).