Superb Rovers see off Dundalk in style
Sligo Rovers 2 Dundalk 1
Sligo Rovers pulled off the shock of the weekend as they were deserved 2-1 winners over Dundalk at The Showgrounds on Friday night.
Romeo Parkes gave the Bit O'Red an early lead after 27 seconds, before Pat Hoban equalised with a penalty.
Dante Leverock then restored Rovers' lead with what proved to be the winner just before half-time.
Rovers came into this game on the back of three consecutive league defeats, sitting second bottom of the table have suffered five defeats in their first eight games.
The Lilywhites knew that a victory in The Showgrounds combined with a defeat for Bohemian against Finn Harps, the Louth side would move into second.
The defending champions were able to name an unchanged side to the one that was beaten by St. Patrick's Athletic last week, while Liam Buckley once again had to shuffle the pack with two changes, having not been able to name an unchanged side once this season.
The Bit O'Red would have been hoping to start the game well, and they certainly got that when they took the lead after a mere 27 seconds.
Ronan Coughlan got the best of Sean Gannon before flicking it into the path of Lewis Banks. The 21-year-old spotted the run of Parkes, and the Jamaican tucked it neatly past Gary Rogers before the fans had even taken their seats.
Liam Buckley's side should have doubled their lead when Daryl Fordyce worked his way through on goal, but with just Rogers to beat, he sent it inches wide.
The opening stages were completely dominated by Sligo, Parkes was next to trouble the visitors' defence when he left Brian Gartland for dead, watching on as his close range shot smacked the far post.
Dundalk were struggling, but they were literally handed a lifeline on 23 minutes when they were awarded a penalty after Kyle Callan McFadden handled the ball in the box.
Pat Hoban's penalty was saved by Rovers keeper Ed McGinty on the opening day of the season, but he made no mistake this time slotting past Mitchell Beeney to level the scoring.
The talk before the game surrounded the statement by Sligo Rovers' supporters group which mentioned an anti-FAI chant on the 33rd minute, the chant did indeed happen alongside a banner unfurled by Bit O'Red fans which simply state 'Delaney out'.
Rovers' momentum was killed for a little bit following the equaliser, but they found it once again before half-time.
David Cawley's corner was flicked on by Parkes with Bermuda captain Dante Leverock getting the final touch to send it into the back of the net, giving Rovers a well deserved 2-1 lead at the interval.
Fordyce almost extended Rovers' lead further mid-way through the second-half when he nodded Coughlan's corner towards goal, but a great save from former Sligo 'keeper Rogers prevented the 32-year-old from getting on the score-sheet.
Dundalk piled the pressure on the Rovers rearguard in the last ten minutes, but the strong and determined Sligo defence did not give in and they recorded a precious three points.
The Bit O'Red travel to Inchicore on Friday night having hosted Waterford last night.
Sligo Rovers: Mitchell Beeney; Johnny Dunleavy, Dante Leverock, John Mahon, Lewis Banks; Kyle Callan-McFadden, David Cawley, Jack Keaney (Niall Morahan, 89), Daryl Fordyce; Romeo Parkes (Kris Twardek, 74), Ronan Coughlan. Subs: Luke McNicholas, Sam Warde, Brian Morley, John Russell, Liam Kerrigan.
Dundalk: Gary Rogers; Sean Gannon, Daniel Cleary, Brian Gartland (John Mountney, 46), Dane Massey; Sean Hoare, Sean Murray (Joe McKee, 68), Jamie McGrath; Daniel Kelly (George Kelly, 64), Pat Hoban, Michael Duffy. Subs: Aaron McCarey, Jordan Flores, Cameron Dummigan, Dean Jarvis.
Referee: Rob Rogers