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Vital win for Rovers in battle for third

Sligo Rovers 2-0 Drogheda United

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John Mahon scored the opening goal for Rovers. Pic: Seb Daly/Sportsfile.

John Mahon scored the opening goal for Rovers. Pic: Seb Daly/Sportsfile.

John Mahon scored the opening goal for Rovers. Pic: Seb Daly/Sportsfile.

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Sligo Rovers moved four points clear in third place with a vital win over Drogheda United at The Showgrounds on Friday night, a win that moves them somewhat closer to securing third place.

Goals from local lads John Mahon and Johnny Kenny secured a first win since September 14th, although Rovers remained third throughout this spell.

Rovers came into this game having surrendered a two goal lead to come away from Finn Park with just a point last Saturday evening.

It gave Derry City an opportunity to move into third if they managed to beat Drogheda United, but they failed to do so and a win for tonight’s opponents at The Showgrounds has brought them straight back into the mix for third place.

Drogs came into this game four points behind Rovers, level on points with Bohs who also missed an opportunity to come close to third on Monday night when they lost to Waterford.

All things considered, Rovers almost gained a point last weekend, despite the circumstances.

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Tonight’s game at The Showgrounds was a must win if Rovers were to give themselves a better chance of securing third.

Buckley made two changes to the side that drew with Finn Harps last weekend, with Greg Bolger and Andre Wright coming back into the side in place of David Cawley and Niall Morahan who dropped to the bench.

The visitors were unchanged coming into this game having beaten Derry earlier this week.

There were few chances to discuss in the opening stages of the game, with Rovers attempting to make use of Johnny Kenny’s ruthlessness in front of goal.

Similarly, Mark Doyle is the second leading scorer for Drogs this season, and he was a constant threat on the counter-attack.

Kenny was first to try his luck in front of goal, with efforts from Adam McDonnell and Ryan DeVries following.

A series of excellent saves from the Drogs netminder denied Rovers an opener shortly before half-time.

First, Odumosu did well to block the shot from Lewis Banks, before somehow scrambling Andre Wright’s close range effort with DeVries next to have his attempt stopped by the youngster in the Drogs goals.

The visitors were struggling to get out of their own half for the first 15 minutes after the restart. Kenny optimistically attempted a volley from Walter Figueira’s cross, before John Mahon nodded over from a corner.

A superb stop from Ed McGinty in the Bit O’Red goals denied the visitors a certain opener. Lethal on the counter, Doyle spotted the driving run from James Brown on the right hand side, and it was three versus two.

Brown just had McGinty to beat and to do so he tried to take it above McGinty, but the Rovers ‘keeper made himself big enough to make the save.

A vital interception from Brown moments later took the ball from the feet of Kenny who was through on goal.

The Bit O’Red were knocking at the door, and the deadlock was finally broken after a few false starts.

On 72 minutes, a corner from McDonnell was nodded into the net by Mahon, his first goal this season.

Wright dragged his shot wide moments later as Rovers went on in search of a second. 

With minutes left on the clock, Rovers doubled their lead.

A corner from McDonnell wasn’t cleared by the Drogs defence, and Kenny did enough to take it away from Deegan, turning and shooting straight into the back of the net to give the home fans something to cheer about at long last.

A late equaliser from Derry City against Bohs means Rovers are now four points clear of both those teams who they have to play in the closing games this season.

The Bit O’Red take on Longford Town on Monday night at the Showgrounds in their rescheduled game.

Sligo Rovers: Ed McGinty, Lewis Banks, John Mahon, Garry Buckley, Robbie McCourt, Walter Figueira, Adam McDonnell, Greg Bolger, Ryan DeVries (Mark Byrne, 69), Johnny Kenny, Andre Wright (David Cawley, 90).

Drogheda United: David Odumosu; Joe Redmond, Daniel O’Reilly, Dane Massey (Ronan Murray, 74); James Brown, Gary Deegan, Killian Phillips (Jake Hyland, 74), Conor Kane; Darragh Markey (Luke Heeney, 60), Chris Lyons (Jordan Adeyemo, 56), Mark Doyle.

Referee: Rob Hennessy.


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