Drogheda United are still only four points off the top of the table, but their unexpected defeat by leaders Sligo Rovers at the Showgrounds on Saturday night raises questions about the Boynesiders’ ability to finish the season in style.
Sligo settled into the game from the kick-off and every time they ran at the Drogheda defence Mick Cooke’s side looked in trouble.
Rovers were flying, but apart from a brief spell in the second-half when they pulled a goal back, the visitors played well below their best.
“Sligo were the better team on the night and all good things come to an end,” said Cooke, after his side’s six match winning run was brought to an abrupt halt.
In spite of this setback Drogheda are still in the running for silverware on three fronts, with a place in the final of the EA Sports Cup at stake when they take on Sligo again at Hunky Dory Park today.
The Drogheda boss praised the sizeable number of fans who travelled to the North West for the match stating “he hoped we can repay our supporters in the cup”.
Sligo manager Ian Baraclough said there was “a great football atmosphere with good performances all over the pitch.
“The intensity is growing in each game but nothing has been won tonight and nobody is celebrating. Drogheda are a very, very tough team to break down, but we remained calm and did our job and will keep doing the best we can and see where it gets us” said Baraclough.
The visitors would not have been unduly concerned when Mark Quigley put Sligo ahead in the 10th minute. But the alarm bells started ringing for Cooke’s side when Seamus Conneely scored his first goal for the Reds to double their advantage four minutes before half time.
Romauld Boco put Sligo 3-0 ahead after 59 minutes before another top drawer save by Gabriel Sava denied Gaynor. Substitute Peter Hynes pulled a goal back for the visitors, but the home side scored their fourth in the 80th minute after acres of space opened up in front of Joseph Ndo.
SLIGO ROVERS:G Rogers; A Keane, G Peers, J McGuinness, I Davoren; R Boco, D Cawley, J Ndo, S Conneely, R Gaynor; M Quigley P Millien.
Subs: L Lynch for Cawley (84 mins), J Dillon Raffaele Cretaro for Millien (64), R Connolly for Conneely (57).
DROGHEDA UNITED: G Sava; P Hand, A McNally, C Brady, A Byrne: R Brennan; G Brennan, P Crowley, C McMahon, E Foley; D O’Brien.
Subs: J Sullivan for Foley (64 mins), S Brennan (for Brennan (h/t), P Hynes for Brady, h/t).
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