First win under Buckley with Rovers impressive over Harps
Finn Harps 1 Sligo Rovers 2
Sligo Rovers picked up their first win of the season courtesy of a hard fought battle against Finn Harps at Finn Park on Friday evening.
Romeo Parkes' deft finish gave Rovers the lead after 29 minutes, before Kris Twardek doubled the visitors' lead. Daniel O'Reilly pulled one back for Harps on 56 minutes, but Rovers held on for a well deserved victory.
Liam Buckley's injury woes were added to just before kick off as goalkeeper Ed McGinty, who was named in the starting 11, dropped out of the squad due to injury.
The Rovers boss made three changes to the side that was defeated by Cork City. Regan Donelon and the aforementioned McGinty missed out through injury, while Daryl Fordyce dropped to the bench.
Niall Morahan, Ronan Murray and Mitchell Beeney took their places in the starting eleven.
Kick off was delayed by ten minutes as a result of an injury to one of the match officials, and not due to crowd congestion as was reported on the night.
Liam Kerrigan was first to threaten for Rovers, as Ollie Horgan's side took a while to adjust to the pace of the young Tubbercurry man.
Parkes should have given the Bit O'Red the lead after 19 minutes when he rose highest to meet Murray's free-kick, but the Jamaican's effort was well wide of the target.
Nathan Boyle went for the spectacular for Harps when he spotted Beeney off his line on 20 minutes, but his long range shot was well over.
Buckley was tearing his hair out once again on 24 minutes when Kyle Callan-McFadden was forced off with a hamstring injury, adding to Rovers' long list of injuries.
The visitors were certainly looking the more dangerous side, and Parkes made up for his earlier miss just before the half hour mark. The 28-year-old ran on to a brilliant through ball from Kris Twardek, and the Jamaican stayed composed as Peter Burke charged him down, tucking the ball neatly past the Harps 'keeper to give Rovers the lead.
Beeney did well early after the re-start to prevent Harps from equalising as Sean Boyd found Boyle in space, but the Rovers net-minder got his body behind the ball to keep Rovers in the lead.
Murray forced a good save from Burke in the Harps goal when Kerrigan surged forward and pulled it back for the Mayo man, who could only look on in agony as he watched his effort saved.
The Bit O'Red continued to look for a second goal, and it finally arrived on 48 minutes. Jack Keaney's corner wasn't dealt with by the Harps defence and Twardek got the vital touch to extend Rovers' lead.
Former Rovers player Caolan McAleer injected a bit more life into the hosts upon his introduction, and his corner was headed past Beeney to bring Harps back into the game with over 30 minutes remaining.
Dante Leverock headed Keaney's free-kick wide before Parkes' header just glanced wide of the target.
The visitors continued to search for a third to be sure of the three points, but they hung in there to record their first victory of Liam Buckley's tenure.
Rovers take on UCD at The Showgrounds this Saturday at 7.45pm.