Sligo Rovers’ march towards Airtricty League glory continued on Friday night last in The Showgrounds when they recorded an impressive win over Dundalk. Mark Quigley’s ninth goal in as many matches got the night off to a perfect start for the 3,265 crowd and despite both Quigley and Alan Keane being forced to leave the action early in the game, Sligo Rovers were never in any real trouble.
The home side dictated matters straight from the kick-off and the early pressure was rewarded in the ninth minute when Mark Quigley won possession just inside his own half and his clever ball released Lee Lynch who got the better of a Dundalk defender before playing the ball back into the patch of Quigley who had continued his run. From the edge of the Dundalk box Quigley effortlessly dispatched his shot past Peter Cherrie to the corner of the Dundalk goal.
The bright start was disrupted to an extent when two of the home sides best performers, Alan Keane and Mark Quigley had to be substituted and it was later confirmed that Keane suffered a fractured metatarsal.
Liam Buchanan, who was signed as a replacement for the injured Danny North but has struggled to make an impact in the team as a result of the form of Danny North came agonisingly close to scoring his first goal for the club three minutes before the interval but Cherrie was quick off his line and managed to get a hand to the forward’s attempted lob.
Although they were playing well, a one goal lead meant there was still reason to be nervous for the home side. However, many of those nerves were settled just four minutes into the second half when Gavin Peers was on hand to score from close range after Ross Gaynor’s free kick wasn’t dealt with.
Shortly afterwards Rovers had a chance to further extend their lead but Peter Cherrie was equal to Buchanan’s effort as he made a great save.
Dundalk threatened rarely but a mistake from Danny Ventre almost gave the visitors a route back into the game. The midfielder’s misplaced pass resulted in Stephen McDonnell seemingly through on goal. However, Joseph Ndo, normally associated with doing his best work at the other end of the pitch ensured McDonnell would not be presented with a straight forward sight of goal and made the Dundalk man work hard just to get a shot at goal. When he did get his shot away he was unlucky to see his effort shave the upright.
The closing stages proved to be straightforward for the home side and with four minutes remaining Buchanan finally registered his first goal. Jason McGuinness got a head to Ndo’s corner and when the ball fell to Buchanan, he made no mistake from a matter of inches.
Sligo Rovers continue to enjoy a six point lead at the top of the table with Drogheda United the nearest challengers having played a game more. St Patrick’s Athletic are a further two points adrift while Shamrock Rovers’ challenge is now all but over as they lie 13 points adrift in fourth place. The next game for the Bit o’Red is on Friday week, September 21 away to Bray Wanderers.
Gary Rogers, Alan Keane (Pascal Millien 25 mins), Seamus Conneely, Gavin Peers, Jason McGuinness, Danny Ventre (David Cawley 84 mins), Joseph Ndo, Raffael Cretaro, Ross Gaynor, Lee Lynch, Mark Quigley (Liam Buchanan 29 mins).