Monday 22 January 2018

Sligo's Russell settles battle of the Rovers

Sligo Rovers 1 Shamrock Rovers 0

Match-winner: John Russell. Photo by Seb Daly/Sportsfile
Match-winner: John Russell. Photo by Seb Daly/Sportsfile

Sligo Rovers secured a precious home win by taking Shamrock Rovers' valued scalp in a tempestuous encounter at the Showgrounds.

John Russell's fourth-minute goal -courtesy of a brilliant header from Kieran Sadlier's cross - proved the game's decisive moment.

The visitors couldn't force a breakthrough against a home side who played with ten men from the 56th minute following Russell's dismissal.

The Hoops went into the match on a run of good form, with four wins from their previous six games, including their Europa League success in Iceland last Thursday.

In contrast, Sligo, who gave a debut to Isle of Man native Seamus Sharkey in the absence of suspended centre-back Kyle Callan-McFadden, had failed to win any of their previous six Premier Division fixtures.

Having been rocked by Sligo's dream start, the Hoops began to their find their feet as the first-half developed but Simon Madden's 29th-minute shot was their only notable effort.

The visitors stepped up their game immediately on the resumption and Micheal Schlingermann stopped a decent effort from Sam Bone two minutes after the restart.

Sadlier almost increased Sligo's lead with a curling effort that was only narrowly off target before the influential Russell was red-carded after collecting a second booking.

A combination of the woodwork and good goalkeeping kept Sligo's lead intact after 68 minutes when Schlingermann diverted substitute Michael O'Connor's goalbound effort onto an upright.

Schlingermann then saved Gary Shaw's piledriver as Sligo came under increasing pressure.

The visitors thought they had equalised in the last minute, but Roberto Lopes' header was cleared off the line by Mick Leahy.

SLIGO ROVERS - Schlingermann; Adebayo-Rowling, Leahy, Sharkey, Donelon; Ayunga (Place 73), Russell, Boylan, Sadlier; Kearns (Kenny 60), Cretaro (Martin 82)

SHAMROCK ROVERS - Chencinski; Madden, Webster, Lopes, (Byrne 76); Bone (O'Connor 60), Connolly; Clarke (Doona 56), Finn, Miele; Shaw

REF - N Doyle (Dublin)

Irish Independent

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