After three Airtricity Premier Division games without a win some pundits were beginning to question whether or not Sligo Rovers’ impressive early season form was a thing of the past and that the other teams had discovered how to play against them. However, on Bank Holiday Monday, in front of a bumper 4,256 crowd, The Showgrounds was treated to some of the finest football Rovers have played since they were crowned league champions.
The huge travelling support thought they had reason to celebrate in the 20th minute when the lively Barry McNamee went tumbling in the box but rather than penalise Rovers’ goalkeeper Gary Rogers, referee Paul Tuite issued McNamee with a yellow card for diving.
The home side opened the scoring seven minutes before the interval with Lee Lynch showing great composure to clinically dispatch his shot past Gerard Doherty after excellent play on the right wing from Alan Keane.
The second half began in a perfect manner for the hosts as David Cawley scored his second goal in four days after a fine delivery from Millien.
That goal effectively killed Derry’s challenge and ensured that Sligo Rovers went back ahead of the Candystripes to the league summit and the points were sealed in the 67th minutes when a penalty was awarded after David Cawley was fouled by Shane McEleney. Ross Gaynor converted the resulting penalty and to make matters worse for Derry, McEleney was issued with a red card.
The closing stages could have seen more goals but Liam Martin saw his effort hit the woodwork while Ndo’s delicate chip after a crisp passing move was just wide.
This Friday Rovers travel to face bray Wanderers as they look to strengthen their position at the top of the table.
Sligo Rovers: Gary Rogers; Alan Keane, Gavin Peers, Evan McMillan (Jeff Henderson 88), Iarfhlaith Davoren; Pascal Millien, Lee Lynch (Danny Ventre 73), David Cawley, Joseph Ndo, Ross Gaynor (Liam Martin 77); Aaron Greene.
Derry City: Gerard Doherty; Simon Madden, Ryan McBride, Shane McEleney, Dermot McCaffrey; Patrick McEleney (Michael Duffy 62), Sean Houston, Barry Molloy, Barry McNamee; Rory Patterson, Mark Griffin (Michael Rafter 62).