Airtricity League round-up: Dundalk go three points clear

Sligo off the mark, Bohs beat Longford and Fahey sent off as Rovers draw at Derry

Dundalk’s Richie Towell celebrates scoring his late winner. Photograph: Morgan Treacy/Inpho

Dundalk’s Richie Towell celebrates scoring his late winner. Photograph: Morgan Treacy/Inpho

 

Dundalk set an all-time club record for successive unbeaten home games in the Premier Division thanks to Richie Towell’s late winneras they secured a 1-0 win against Drogheda United at Oriel Park.

A disciplined, defensive effort from Drogheda looked like it would see them leave with a point until the midfielder’s late intervention - his fourth goal in the last three league games.

The champions, who have now avoided defeat in the top flight for 22 games and broke a record which had stood for 16 years, started quicker with Richie Towell bringing a smart stop out of Micheal Schlingermann and David McMillan sending an acrobatic effort wide.

Aside from that, the Lilywhites created little else of note in the first half, Drogheda’s defensive efforts rewarded as they left the field at half-time scoreless.

They could and should have been ahead themselves on 30 minutes when Alan Byrne evaded everyone in the penalty area to meet Sean Brennan’s free kick but could only nod it wide.

The hosts upped the ante at the start of the second half with McMillan and Massey twice going close to the opener.

However, a disciplined Drogheda continued to defend comfortably with their only real scare coming when Stephen Maher had to clear Daryl Horgan’s net-bound strike off the line.

That was until two minutes from time when McMillan held the ball up well in the box and teed up the overlapping Massey who clipped to the back post for Towell to ram home.

His priceless goal now puts the champions three points clear of Bohemians at the top of the table.

Galway United 0 Sligo Rovers 1

Sligo Rovers finally secured their first win of the campaign, a 1-0 victory over Galway United when an early penalty was enough to give them all three points in a disappointing Connacht derby at Eamonn Deacy Park.

Sligo made the perfect start when they hit the front after just five minutes as referee Neil Doyle adjudged that goalkeeper Ger Hanley fouled Raf Cretaro as they contested a cross from the right by Steven Beattie.

Dinny Corcoran stepped forward and slotted home his second goal of the campaign to give the Bit O’ Red a strong foundation in their quest for a first win of the season.

They continued to dictate the pace of the game and it took a superb goal-line clearance form Stephen Walsh to deny Corcoran a second goal two minutes after he found the net.

Galway struggled to hold on to the ball for periods, but they finished the opening half well with Enda Curran going close, while it took a good tackle from Galway native Stephen Folan to stop a run on goal from home skipper Paul Sinnott.

President Michael D Higgins and the crowd of 1,762 did not have much goalmouth action to entertain them after the restart, but Gary Shanhan came close to grabbing an equaliser when he got a flick on a David O’Leary free but Brush dealt with it.

Sligo drafted in Estonian international Sander Puri and he went close with a shot, while former Danish underage star Morten Nielsen also sent a stinging effort the wrong side of the right post.

But in between Galway should have levelled only for Padraig Cunningham to see his header from Gary Shanahan’s right wing cross saved by Brush.

Bohemians 2 Longford Town 0

A goal with his first touch from substitute Adam Evans sealed a fifth win of the season for Bohemians as a 2-0 victory over Longford Town moved them up to second place in the Premier Division table.

Evans added to Dean Kelly’s first half lead within a minute of coming on in the 71st minute, side-footing home Kelly’s cross from the right for his third goal of the season.

A solid start, in which David O’Sullivan and Pat Sullivan had openings, counted for nothing for Longford as they were clinically punished for negligent defending at the game’s first corner on 23 minutes.

Lorcan Fitzgerald’s delivery to the back post picked out the unmarked Kelly and the Bohemians striker scored his second goal of the season with a simple downward header.

Longford lost midfielder Stephen Rice eight minutes before half-time. Initially injured in a collision with Roberto Lopes in the ninth minute, Rice played on after treatment.

But he was then substituted on 37 minutes, put on a stretcher and taken to hospital.

A patchy second half didn’t come alive until the 69th minute when Dean Delany made the save of the night to tip away O’Sullivan’s shot.

Derry City 0 Shamrock Rovers 0

Keith Fahey may have blotted his copybook at the Brandywell last night having been sent off, but Shamrock Rovers will not be too unhappy with their former international.

The talented midfielder appeared to take a dive while inside the Derry penalty area, but referee, Paul McLaughlin, was having none of it, promptly producing a second yellow card to the Dubliner.

Having already been cautioned in the 72nd minute, Fahey was booed off the Brandywell pitch to the delight of the home support.

In a game which saw clear-cut chances at an absolute premium, Rovers defenders David Webster and Conor Kenna produced superb last ditch tackles on either side of half-time.

Derry grew in confidence, but failed to breach a resolute Rovers defence to record yet another clean sheet and, in the end a draw was probably a fair result with both sides happy.

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