Peers strike gives Sligo Europa lifeline

Gavin Peers ensured Sligo Rovers’ Europa League campaign is far from over after scoring a vital away goal in last night’s first-leg clash with Spartak Trnava in Slovakia.

Three goals inside eight minutes looked to have sent Ian Baraclough’s side tumbling out of the second qualifying round, but a second-half header from Peers gives them hope.

Although, the three first-half goals scored by Miroslav Karhan and a brace from Martin Mikovic means the Bit O’Red have a huge task to turn this tie around.

Karhan opened the scoring when he headed in a corner kick from Vlastimil Stozicky. Still dazed from that goal, Sligo conceded again as a cross from the left found the unmarked Mikovic and he curled a shot past Rogers from the edge of the penalty area.

Less than a minute later, the diminutive winger got his second of the night when he raced onto a stray pass, lured Rogers from his goal-line and squeezed his shot in from an acute angle.

Sligo had it all to do but showed fighting spirit as Cretaro rattled the upright with a stinging shot and Joseph Ndo had a free-kick saved.

Cretaro again went close with a header before the visitors got their reward. A cross from Danny North picked out Peers, who got in ahead of keeper Miroslav Filipko to head in.

Baraclough’s confidence afterwards was justified as his team were the better side here, but they have it all to do in the second leg in order to turn the tie in their favour.

SPARTAK TRNAVA: M Filipko; M Habanek, M Janecka, P Cvirik, V Stozicky; P Gross, M Karhan; M Gasparik, M Mikovic (I Schranz 70), M Bicak (J Koubsky 84); L Tomacek (K Pavelka 60).

SLIGO ROVERS: G Rogers; S Conneely, G Peers, J McGuinness, R Gaynor (J Henderson 90); D Ventre, D Cawley; R Cretaro (P Millien 77), J Ndo, R Boco; D North.

Referee: T Skjerven (Norway).

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