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Sligo's clinical edge brings title into view

Sligo Rovers edged three points closer to a first league title since 1977 with a convincing victory over Bohemians at the Showgrounds last night.

All the damage was done in the first half as Mark Quigley, Raffaele Cretaro and Lee Lynch got the goals that pushed Rovers nine points clear at the top with seven series of games left.

It wasn't all one-way traffic, with Dave Mulcahy and Derek Pender going close for the visitors, but there was little doubt about where the points were going once the in-form Quigley opened the scoring in the early stages.

The Bit O'Red began life without Romuald Boco, who opted to link up with previous boss Paul Cook at Accrington Stanley on Friday.

It took the hosts just 12 minutes to open their account, the outstanding Quigley heading home his eighth goal in eight league games from close range after a pinpoint cross from Lynch.

Bohs could have levelled but for a piece of heroic defending by Gavin Peers, who somehow got back to acrobatically clear the ball off the line after Dave Mulcahy flicked Evan McMillan's header over Gary Rogers.

Sligo scored again on 26 minutes when Cretaro's shot from inside the area squeezed under Craig Sexton after some good work by Alan Keane.

The wet surface did the Gypsies' netminder no favours again seven minutes before the break, as the lively Lynch started and finished an attack that featured four Rovers players and took them from one side of the pitch to the other.

Pender forced a good save from Gary Rogers with a low shot as Bohemians commendably came out to battle back after the restart.

Pender went even closer just after the hour-mark, when Joseph Ndo's dummy failed to come off in midfield, and Bohemians counter-attacked sharply, with Pender smashing a shot off the outside of the post.

The Bit O'Red looked threatening every time they attacked, however, and Lynch and Quigley both spurned the chances to add their contribution when missing the target from inside the box.

Cretaro really should have doubled his tally on 64 minutes, when Pascal Millien's cross picked him out in front of goal, but he missed the target.

Rogers saved from Danny Joyce shortly after as the game remained open and entertaining, and the goalkeeper was lucky to recover from a slip that almost let O'Connor in on goal.

Cretaro, Quigley and Man of the Match Lynch all went close to adding to Rovers tally in the last 10 minutes, but Bohs managed to score a consolation deep in injury-time, when Pender bundled home from close range after some sloppy Rovers defending.

Sligo -- Rogers, Keane (Owens 85), McGuinness, Peers, Conneely, Ventre, Lynch, Ndo (Cawley 71), Cretaro, Millien (Buchanan 71), Quigley.

Bohemians -- Sexton, Mulcahy, McMillen, Lopes, Byrne (Devaney 69), Pender, Buckley, Barker, Joyce, O'Connor (Ward 81), Corcoran (Scully 76).

Ref -- D Hancock (Dublin).

Irish Independent