Sligo Rovers 0 Dundalk 1: Dundalk extended their lead at the top of the SSE Airtricity League Premier Division to seven points following a 1-0 victory over Sligo Rovers at The Showgrounds last night.
There were questions leading up to the game concerning Dundalk’s goalkeeper situation, but showing true professionalism, Gary Rogers made his way to The Showgrounds just 24 hours after fulfilling his international duties with the Republic of Ireland in Serbia.
The 20 minutes played between Sligo Rovers and Finn Harps in last Saturday’s ultimately abandoned game proved beneficial to The Bit O’Red as the FAI deemed Raffaele Cretaro and Craig Roddan’s suspensions to have been served on the evening.
An already difficult job became a lot harder for Sligo with just nine minutes on the clock when Craig Roddan was shown a straight red card for a reckless tackle on Daryl Horgan. The league champions quickly capitalised on their numerical advantage as Patrick McEleney showed great composure to get around centre-back Mick Leahy before squaring a ball to David McMillan to tap it in into an empty net for his 14th league goal of the season.
The home side went in search of a response as Achille Campion lofted a ball into the box from the right flank for Liam Martin who could only head it narrowly wide.
Calamity almost resulted in an equaliser for Sligo in the 23rd minute when a superb ball from Daniel Kearns was mistimed by a stranded Gary Rogers with the ball skimming off his head and falling to the feet of Sadlier, but captain Stephen O’Donnell was on hand to deny the winger.
Horgan should have doubled the Lilywhites lead when a deflected John Mountney ball found it’s way to his feet, but he could only smash it wide from close range. An even better chance was spurned by McMillan before the half-time break when a well-weighted ball from Horgan was met by the league’s top scorer but he appeared to get caught in two minds as he failed to make any real connection from point-blank range.
The second-half proved to be a much quieter affair as both defences absorbed pressure, though Dundalk looked the more likely party to claim the games second goal as Sligo hesitated in pressing too high up the pitch with the obvious gap present in the middle of the park.
Michael Schlingermann, Tobi Adebayo-Rowling, Gavin Peers, Mick Leahy, Jimmy Keohane, Craig Roddan (c), Daniel Kearns, Liam Martin, Kieran Sadlier (John Russell, 68), Raffaele Cretaro, Achille Campion (Mikey Place, 86).
Gary Rogers, Sean Gannon, Brian Gartland, Andy Boyle, Dane Massey, Ronan Finn, Stephen O’Donnell, Daryl Horgan, John Mountney (Darren Meenan, 70), Patrick McEleney (Robbie Benson, 62), David McMillan (Dean Shiels, 89).
P. McLaughlan (Donegal)
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