Sligo hold out for much-needed win despite Russell red card
The visitors were unable to turn a dominant second half display into goals
Sligo Rovers manager Gerard Lyttle watched his side beat Shamrock Rovers at the Showgrounds. Photo: Inpho
Sligo Rovers 1 Shamrock Rovers 0
John Russell’s fourth minute goal settled a spiky clash of the Rovers at The Showgrounds with Sligo moving up to eighth in the table thanks to a 1-0 win over their Dublin opponents.
The visitors were unable to turn a dominant second half display into goals even though the stubborn home side went down to 10 players when Russell was sent off after 56 minutes – the second time he’s been sent off against the Tallaght club this season.
Both sides went into this fixture with severely contrasting form. Rovers had won their three previous games, including a successful Europa League trip to Iceland, but relegation-threatened Sligo had failed to win any of their seven previous top flight games.
Sligo, with Seamus Sharkey making his debut at centre back, went a goal up after four minutes. Russell converted Kieran Sadlier’s excellent cross with a powerful header that found the top corner.
The home side, showing grit, kept Rovers contained for much of the first half save for a 29th minute opportunity for Simon Madden but the fullback’s effort was straight at Sligo net-minder Micheal Schlingermann.
There were chances at both ends early in the second half – Sam Bone’s effort forced a save from Schlingermann and Kieran Sadlier almost double the home side’s lead with a curling effort.
Sligo were hampered by midfield dynamo Russell’s dismissal after 56 minutes – a second booking – as Rovers cranked up the pressure.
Substitute Michael O’Connor’s shot was turned onto the upright by Schlingermann and the goalkeeper was in the right place to make a sharp save from Gary Shaw’s stinging shot in the 75th minute. Roberto Lopes had a header cleared off the line from a 90th minute corner as Rovers almost grabbed a share of the spoils at the death.
SLIGO ROVERS: Schlingermann; Adebayo-Rowling, Leahy, Sharkey, Donelon; Ayunga (Place 73), Russell, Boylan, Sadlier; Kearns (Kenny 60), Cretaro (Martin 82).
SHAMROCK ROVERS: Chencinski; Madden, Webster, Lopes, Byrne 76); Bone (O’Connor 60), Connolly; Clarke (Doona 56), Finn, Miele; Shaw.
Referee: Neil Doyle.