Sligo close in on title after 'great weekend' for Baraclough
Sligo Rovers 4 Derry City 1
These are interesting times for Sligo Rovers, whose latest success was achieved with the minimum of fuss at the Showgrounds.
Eight points now divide the Bit O'Red and second-placed St Patrick's Athletic, leaving Ian Baraclough's charges on the verge of securing the title for the first time in 35 years.
Unsurprisingly, a typically passionate Sligo crowd saluted the latest dynamic display as Derry City gifted the table toppers two first-half goals.
There were flashes of Derry's passing ability, but it was Sligo who were clinical and efficient, which delighted the highly regarded Baraclough at this stage of a gruelling campaign.
"I asked the players to go and do the basics right and that is what we did," he said.
"The result between Drogheda and St Patrick's on Friday night helped -- look, it has been a great weekend for us -- so I asked the boys to go and do our job. We set about it in the right way.
"We got our rewards by letting them make mistakes and then we were clinical when the mistakes happened. It has disheartened the chasing pack because there are less games to go, less windows of opportunity."
Only 14 minutes had elapsed when a Joseph Ndo corner caused panic in the Derry defence and Ryan McBride, under pressure from Gavin Peers, put the ball into his own net.
A weak Stewart Greacen clearance on 35 minutes was ruthlessly punished by Raf Cretaro, who confidently drilled Sligo two ahead.
Derry were again in some bother, with Ndo and Lee Lynch crafting another goal for Cretaro 11 minutes after the restart.
The Candystripes pulled one back in the 69th minute when Ruaidhri Higgins' pass allowed David McDaid to score.
Sligo, though, ploughed on defiantly, with Lynch decorating the triumph in the 76th minute.
Baraclough is thrilled by the progress being made by his charges. "These players are driving this club forward. They deserve more. They deserve this glory," he said.
"From what I have seen since I have been here, there has been a lot of hard work done by the management committee, by the fans, to build the club.
"I respect these fans, who spend their hard-earned money to come all the way out here, week in and week out.
"It is our job to put a performance on for them. I want them to have a smile on their face."
Sligo Rovers -- Rogers; Conneely, McGuinness, Peers, Gaynor; Lynch (Cawley 81), Ventre, Ndo; Millien, Quigley (Buchanan 68), Cretaro (Connolly 81).
Derry City -- Doherty; Madden, Greacen (S McEleney 74), McBride, McCaffrey; P McEleney (Murphy 65), Higgins, Deery (Curran 83), McDaid; McNamee; Farren.
Ref -- P Tuite (Dublin).