Sligo close the gap on Shamrock Rovers to two points

Meanwhile, Drogheda United saw off Finn Harps thanks to a last-gasp Massey strike

Sligo’s Walter Figueira scored in their win over Longford Town on Friday. Photo: Tommy Dickson

Sligo’s Walter Figueira scored in their win over Longford Town on Friday. Photo: Tommy Dickson

 

Sligo Rovers 2 Longford Town 0

Sligo Rovers took advantage of Shamrock Rovers’ slip to move to within two points of the reigning champions on Friday night.

The Bit O’ Red were too strong for Longford Town at the Showgrounds, with Walter Figueira and Jordan Gibson getting the goals in either half of a 2-0 win.

Figueira opened the scoring with his second goal of the season on 17 minutes, as Longford keeper Michael Kelly was unable to prevent his long-range effort from hitting the net.

It was an unfortunate setback for the visitors, who had started well and created a couple of decent early chances.

Rob Manley fired a shot just too high on five minutes with an effort from outside the area.

The visitors went even closer five minutes later when Aaron Dobbs crossed into the area for Dylan Grimes, but he could only scoop it over the bar under pressure from Sligo defender Garry Buckley.

Kelly could have done better with the effort from Figueira, but he did make saves from Ryan de Vries and Johnny Kenny as Sligo threatened on the counter-attack before the break.

Longford had plenty of possession but struggled to create much in the final third, though Sligo keeper Ed McGinty had to be sharp to deal with a couple of dangerous corners from Grimes.

But the visitors’ hopes were killed off just before the hour-mark, as Paddy Kirk was adjudged to have handled in the area, and Gibson made no mistake from the spot to secure the three points.

Sligo Rovers: McGinty; Horgan (Blaney 77), Buckley, Mahon, McCourt, Banks, Morahan, Figueira, Gibson, De Vries (Parkes 63), Kenny (Donelon 81).

Longford Town: Kelly, Elworthy (Chambers 58), Kirk, Robinson (Bolger 65), Grimes, R Manley (Verdon 74), Dobbs, Thompson (Davis 74), O’Driscoll, Dervin, J Manley.

Referee: B Connolly.

Finn Harps 0 Drogheda United 1

Dane Massey fired in a superb 94th minute free as Drogheda United snatched a dramatic last gasp win over Finn Harps at Finn Park.

The Louth side, who had Luke Heeney red carded for a foul on Tunde Owolabi in the 90th minute, bagged the points as Massey found the top corner after Dave Webster was penalised for a foul on Chris Lyons on the edge of the box, and also got his marching orders as he picked up a second yellow card.

Both sides had chances in an end-to-end first half.

On 18 minutes Drogheda’s inspirational captain James Brown produced one of his trademark raids down the right flank before whipping in a cross but Chris Lyons was just inches away from making the telling connection required.

Adam Foley and Barry McNamee, for Harps, and Darragh Markey and Mark Doyle, for Drogheda, all went close to breaking the deadlock before the break.

Drogheda piled on the pressure just after the break.

In the second half, Daniel O’Reilly had a shot deflected following a free, while Mark Doyle saw one header superbly saved by Mark Anthony McGInley and then had another one left of the upright.

Harps found themselves increasingly pegged back with Doyle and Lyons linking well.

But Harps weathered the storm and Ethan Boyle, substitute Conor Barry and Webster (twice) had pots on goal.

However, Massey came up trumps for Drogheda who are now unbeaten in five games and remain fourth while Harps, with one win in eight, are fifth.

Finn Harps: McGinley; Boyle, McEleney, Sadiki, Webster; Coyle (Dunleavy, 68 mins), Seymour; O’Sullivan (Barry, 68 mins), B. McNamee, Doherty (Russell, h-t); Foley (Owolabi, 76 mins).

Drogheda United: Odumosu; Phillips, O’Reilly, Massey; Brown, Murray (Clarke, 77 mins), Heeney, Markey, Kane; Doyle, Lyons.

Referee: D Tomney (Dublin).

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