Thursday 20 June 2019

It's catch us if you can as the wins keep mounting up for Dundalk

Dundalk 4 Sligo Rovers 0

James Rogers at Oriel Park

The wins just keep Mounting up for Dundalk.

Catch us if you can was the message from Oriel Park on Friday as the Lilywhites took advantage of Shamrock Rovers' inaction to move three points clear at the top of the SSE Airtricity League Premier Division table, albeit with a game more played.

John Mountney was the hero of the night for Vinny Perth's side as he marked the 200th league appearance of his career with his first ever hat-trick.

While the Lilywhites were not at their free-flowing best for long spells of this game, it was still a convincing win - albeit helped by two penalties, the first of which was dispatched by Patrick Hoban.

That has taken their total for the season to date to 11, a sign of their attacking dominance in games.

While Mountney rightly took the plaudits, the Hoban penalty was crucial as Dundalk were forced to weather something of a storm from Liam Buckley's side after the break before finally getting the second goal which looked like being a formality after they took the lead with less than a minute on the clock.

There will be more entertaining matches at Oriel this season but a 4-0 win over the only side Dundalk had failed to beat this season prior to last weekend is nothing to be sniffed at.

The latest win means it is 11 from 12 - ominous form from a side who traditionally save their best form for after the break.

It was against Sligo back on April 12th when Dundalk last lost a game. On that occasion a Romeo Parkes goal after just 28 seconds set Liam Buckley's side on the path to victory.

The Lilywhites would return the favour on this occasion with a goal of their own on 28 seconds as Mountney rose highest at the back post to head Patrick McEleney's cross past Ed McGinty.

Having taken an early lead, the expectation was that the champions would kick on and extend their advantage but they struggled to break down the visitors defence after that. Jordan Flores did have two good efforts but he could only ripple the side-netting after the ball dropped to him in the box on 10 minutes before heading over from McEleney's cross soon after.

Either side of a couple of Michael Duffy efforts that were blocked, Sligo began to threaten on the break with Parkes proving a particular handful. He fizzed a shot across the face of goal on 24 minutes and was unlucky not to play Daryl Fordyce in shortly after.

The Bit O Red continued to pose the greater threat on the restart with Gary Rogers having to be alert to keep a David Cawley free kick out on 58 minutes as his former side piled on the pressure.

The game turned dramatically in the home side's favour on 61 minutes, however, when Patrick Hoban converted from the spot to double his side's lead after Kyle Callan-McFadden was adjudged to have handled his initial effort.

The league's top scorer then played a key role in the third seven minutes later when he laid off to Duffy on the left whose cross was headed home by Mountney for his second.

His chance of a hat-trick looked to have passed when John Mahon blocked his effort from Sean Gannon's cross soon after but the Mayo man would not be denied.

He completed his first career hat-trick nine minutes from the end when he scored from the penalty spot after Hoban had been fouled while shooting by Callan-McFadden.

He was substituted moments later to a standing ovation. It might not have been vintage stuff from the champions but it was another victory as they ominously moved clear at the top for the first time this season.

The Argus