Sligo Rovers 3 - 1 Shelbourne
SLIGO ROVERS have fired their retro rockets into the final leg of the Airtricity League title race - with an emphatic 3-1 win at Tolka Park while two of their nearest challengers crash landed out of orbit and out of the title race last night (Friday).
It is fast becoming a script writers dream on all counts - the final match of this 2012 season now looks like being between Team One and Two in the table, between the defending champions and the likely new champions, between the two 'Rovers.'
The same as as it was in 1977 when Sligo won its most recent League title.Put To Sword
Sligo put Shelbourne to the sword last night, completing a wonderful five days in Dublin where the Rovers took four points from six and stretched their unbeaten run.
Only once this season have Sligo lost and that team, UCD, can expect no sentiment when they come to the Showgrounds on Monday night.
Last night it was a performance in sharp contrast to when the sides met nearly three months ago in Sligo, when Rovers struggled and were hesitant.
With ruthless precision, Sligo 'took' the game in the opening sixteen minutes. First, Jason McGuinness rose to head home Ross Gaynorís corner in the 2nd minute. Then Gaynor himelf set up the second; his free found Gavin Peers enjoying the freedom of lower Drumcondra and he fired low past the Shels keeper Bennion with the outside of his boot from 12 yards out.
New signing Liam Buchanan was barely on the field for his debut when he won a penalty kick. Mark Quigley, who else, confidently stuck it away for his sixth goal in five league games.Couple More
Sligo might have had a couple more -- Gareth Matthews made a last ditch clearance in the 21st minute from Paschal Millien as Rovers threatened to run rampant and
Ten minutes later, in the 31st minute, Seamus Conneely should have extended the lead but headed over from a glorious Gaynor delivery.
In the 35th minute Conneelly was denied by Brian Shortallís acrobatic header.
Sligo continued to dominate upon the restart. In the 51st minute Paschal Millien desperately unfortunate to see his header at the back post just miss the target
In the 60th minute, Alan Keane raced down the right and when his cross was met David Cawley, the Ballina man's volley attempt from 10 yards was saved by Bennion.
Later, Bennion had to produce a fine double save midway through the second half at which stage Rovers had all rockets firing.
Mark Quigley and Millien each had second half chances but it was Dubliner Quigley whose 77th minute penalty put Sligo 3-0 ahead and ended the contest. Brian Shortall had made a clumsy contact inside the box with Liam Buchanan, making his debut for Rovers and on the pitch less than 10 minutes.
Shelbourne sub Kavanagh scored the game's best goal and a late consolation in the 83rd minute. His cross shot from 20 yards eluded the grasp of a diving Gary Rogers, who was also called into action twice in the half.
Chris Bennion, Gareth Matthews, Andrew Boyle, Brian Shortall, Lorcan Fitzgerald, Stephen Hurley, Glenn Cronin, Kevin Dawson, Sean Byrne, David Cassidy, Philip Hughes. Subs: Philip Gorman for Hurley 56th minute; Clancy for Byrne, 70th minute and Paddy Kavanagh for Cassidy 80th minute.
Gary Rogers, Alan Keane, Gavin Peers, Jason McGuinness, Ross Gaynor, Seamus Conneely, David Cawley, Danny Ventre, Romuald Boco, Mark Quigley, Paschal Millien. Subs: Liam Buchana for Ventre 70th minute and Lee Lynch for Conneely, 79th minute.
: Paul Tuite (Dublin).