After last week’s frustrating defeat to Dundalk in Oriel Park, Sligo Rovers host Cork City this weekend in the FAI Cup.
Last week’s 2-0 defeat means retaining the Airtricity League Premier Division title is unlikely as they now trail St Patrick’s Athletic by seven points.
Manager Ian Baraclough was once again without a number of players with Iarfhlaith Davoren, Ross Gaynor, Danny North, Evan McMillan and David McMillan all ruled out with various injuries.
Despite the absentees, a bright opening saw the visitors go close to forcing a breakthrough before the deadlock was broken by the form striker in the league, Pat Hoban.
Gavin Peers came close to an equaliser when his header hit the Dundalk crossbar.
Rovers enjoyed plenty of possession with Joseph Ndo and Kieran Djilali particularly influential in midfield. However, they struggled to create clear cut opportunities with lone striker Anthony Elding well marshalled by the Dundalk defensive pairing of Brian Gartland and Andy Boyle.
Dundalk weathered the Rovers storm and when the second half got underway it was the home side who looked much sharper. Following a period of pressure that saw a numberof dangerous deliveries come to nothing, Dundalk doubled their lead when substitute Chris Shields rose unopposed to head Darren Meenan’s perfect delivery past a helpless Gary Rogers.
Rovers pushed numbers forward as they fought to get back into the game. The closest they came to a goal was when Raffaele Cretaro saw his shot hit the Dundalk post before hitting Dundalk goalkeeper Peter Cherrie and then going out for a corner.
The defeat means Rovers will realistically need to win all their remaining league games and hope the teams above them slip up in the remaining weeks.
While the league position may not be as Ian Baraclough would have hoped there is still plenty for the team to play for and this Saturday they host Cork City in the FAI Cup. With memories of cup wins 2010 and 2011 still very fresh in the memory 2013 could still be a memorable year.