Sligo Rovers inflict fourth defeat of the season on struggling Dundalk
James Akintunde spares Derry’s blushes against Longford at the Brandywell
Sligo’s Jordan Gibson celebrates scoring a goal as Andy Boyle of Dundalk looks on. Photograph: Tommy Dickson/Inpho
Dundalk 0 Sligo Rovers 1
Jordan Gibson’s fourth goal of the season saw 10 man Sligo Rovers inflict a fourth defeat of the season on struggling Dundalk at Oriel Park.
The 23-year-old showed superb skill to nutmeg Andy Boyle before rifling to the net from 25 yards out to ensure Liam Buckley’s men got back to winning ways after two draws and a defeat in their last three outings.
The result - achieved despite losing Garry Buckley to a second bookable offence eight minutes into the second half - leaves them two points off St Patrick’s Athletic in second place and four points off leaders Shamrock Rovers ahead of the two Dublin clubs’ clash at Richmond Park on Saturday.
Perhaps most crucially, however, is the fact it puts them nine points clear of Dundalk, who have now slipped to a first league defeat under interim manager Jim Magilton.
Sligo had the better chances throughout with Walter Figueira rattling the crossbar on 10 minutes before Peter Cherrie was called into action to deny Johnny Kenny a goal on the break after 31 minutes.
Gibson’s goal six minutes before the break was no more than the visitors deserved but Dundalk were then thrown a lifeline when Sligo were reduced to 10 men on 53 minutes after Buckley, who had been booked in the first-half for a late challenge on Val Adedokun, received a second yellow card for a high boot on Junior.
Yet despite their numerical advantage they only threatened in stoppage time when two Wilfried Zahibo headers were both saved by Ed McGinty.
Dundalk: Cherrie; Jurkovskis, Cleary, Andy Boyle, Adedokun; Shields (McEleney 67), Zahibo; Han (Kelly 55), Murray, Duffy; Junior (Midtskogen 81).
Sligo Rovers: McGinty; Banks, Buckley, Mahon, McCourt; Bolger, Morahan; Kenny (Horgan 74), Gibson, Figueira; Parkes (Blaney 55).
Referee: Rob Hennessy (Limerick)
Derry 1 Longford 1
Derry’s wait for a first home win of the season goes on but manager Ruaidhri Higgins will breathe a sigh of relief following his side’s late, late equaliser against Longford Town at the Brandywell.
It was a thoroughly deserved share of the spoils after Longford had threatened to stun their hosts for a second time this season. Derry opened the game really well with Eoin Toal playing a captain’s role with two solid headers threatening the Longford goal.
Following a Will Patching corner in the fourth minute, Toal was denied when his effort was tipped over the crossbar by goalkeeper Michael Kelly. And Toal was again at the centre of the action when Longford’s Dean Zambra swept his second header off the goal-line as Derry continued on the front foot.
Longford worked their way into the contest and a cross from Shane Elworthy in the 29th minute, saw Aaron Robinson threaten but his header was directed into the hands of Derry custodian, Nathan Gartside.
Five minutes before the break Derry striker David Parkhouse should have done better when bursting into the penalty area but he dragged his shot wide of the target. The Candystripes started the second half on the offensive with Parkhouse failing to convert a brace of scoring chances during the opening 10 minutes.
But then it was Longford who broke the deadlock in the 74th minute, with a goal the Derry defence could have avoided.
A high ball into the penalty area was not dealt with, then as Derry defender Cameron McJannet appeared favourite to clear the danger Robert Manley used his strength to make a challenge before swivelling to guide the ball home.
Derry substitute, Patrick Ferry forced Kelly into another vital save as the game moved into injury time before James Akintunde spared Derry’s blushes when he poked the ball home in the 93rd minute from 12 yards.
To be fair, the game proved to be a scrappy affair with the points being shared considered a fair outcome.
Derry City: Gartside; Boyce, Toal, McJannet, Coll; Harkin (Ferry, 80), Malone; Fitzgerald (McLaughlin, 75) Patching, Akintunde; Parkhouse.
Longford Town: Kelly: Elworthy, McDonnell, O’Driscoll, Chambers; Robinson (Bolger, 67), Zambra; Grimes, Dervin, Byrne (Thompson, 60); Manley.
Referee: R Harvey (Dublin)