Slick Sligo capitalise on defensive Shel-shocker
Sligo Rovers took another progressive step towards winning their third title at Tolka Park last night.
The visitors were handed a dream start inside two minutes as some sloppy Shelbourne defending gave Sligo a corner-kick and, from Ross Gaynor's outswinging delivery, Jason McGuinness rose highest to flick unchallenged beyond Chris Bennion from six yards.
With a point garnered on their trip to Tallaght on Monday night, the visitors seemed content to prey on an increasingly erratic defensive display from Shelbourne and they doubled their lead in the 16th minute after further calamitous defending.
An innocuous-looking free-kick by Gaynor was allowed to drift into the path of McGuinness' central defensive partner, Gavin Peers, who made a decisive connection from 12 yards, despite the best efforts of Bennion on his goal-line.
The procession towards the home goal continued with Pascal Millien denied by a last-ditch clearance by Gareth Matthews in the 21st minute as Shelbourne struggled to compete against their vastly superior opponents.
Seamus Conneely should have extended his side's advantage in the 31st minute as he headed over from a glorious Gaynor delivery, and four minutes later the same player was denied by Brian Shortall's acrobatic headed clearance.
A 41st-minute shot from Sean Byrne aside, there was scant attacking threat from the hosts.
A third goal almost arrived for the league leaders within six minutes of the resumption as Millien arrived unannounced at the back post but his deft header across goal rolled narrowly wide.
Bennion redeemed himself for his error on the second goal when making an excellent reflex save to deny David Cawley on the hour mark but the inevitable third goal arrived in the 77th minute as Mark Quigley converted from the spot, after a trip on substitute Liam Buchanan by Shortall.
A consolation goal arrived in the 83rd minute from substitute Paddy Kavanagh but there was no denying the 'Bit O'Red' as they extended their lead at the top of the league table.
Shelbourne -- Bennion; Matthews, Boyle, Shortall, Fitzgerald; Hurley (Gorman, 56), Cronin, Cassidy (Kavanagh, 80), Dawson, Byrne (Clancy, 70); Hughes.
Sligo Rovers -- Rogers; Keane, Peers, McGuinness, Gaynor; Conneely (Lynch, 79), Cawley, Ventre (Buchanan, 69), Boco; Quigley, Millien.
Referee -- P Tuite (Dublin)