Sligo Rovers have beaten bottom club Dundalk 3-0 at the Showgrounds to maintain their lead at the top at six points with six games of the Airtricity League Premier Division season to play.
The result never looked in doubt from the 11th minute as a counter attack saw Lee Lynch find Mark Quigley who easily beat the advancing Peter Cherrie in the visitors’ goal to put the home side 1-0 ahead.
Second-half strikes from Gavin Peers and Liam Buchanan sealed a comprehensive win for the Bit o’Red and Dundlak now look doomed to the drop as they are seven points adrift of Bray Wanderers at the bottom of the table with just six games to play.
Drogheda secured yet another come-from-behind win to maintain their push for European football, though the title appears to be out of their reach at this stage, barring an end of season collapse from Sligo.
Drogs overcame a one goal deficit to beat Derry City, having trailed as early as the second minute. Alan McNally and Gabriel Sava combined to bring down David McDaid in the box. The Drogheda defender was lucky to stay on the pitch, being the last man he should have gone, but Alan Kelly brandished only a yellow card. McDaid dusted himself down and sent the keeper the wrong way to put the visitors ahead.
The Boynesiders were then handed a lifeline on 25 minutes. It came completely against the run of play as Ryan Brennan was taken down inside the box by Shane McEleney. Declan “Fabio” O’Brien stepped up and slotted home his second penalty in consecutive games.
McNally then atoned for his mistake just before the break (although he should not have been on the pitch at that stage). The defender up until then had put in a barnstorming performance at the back, but from a Ryan Brennan corner the defender got in at the back post unmarked and headed home past Doherty.
Try as Derry might, they could not force an equalizer in the second half and the Candystripes slip from fifth to seventh in the table.
St. Patrick’s Athletic kept up the pressure on Drogs with a 0-2 win at Tolka Park over Premier Division new boys Shelbourne.
The stalemate had yet to be broken by the time referee Anthony Buttimer blew the half-time whistle, though both sides had their chances, though Pat’s always looked the classier outfit.
The second half was less open and was becoming scrappy until the visitors opened the scoring on 70 minutes. A cross from the lively Seán O’Connor on the right, found Christy Fagan in the box. He dispatched his header to the bottom corner to give Pat’s a deserved lead.
Shels continued to push forward but with little end product. On 83 minutes Ian Ryan blasted a shot over the bar after David Cassidy found him in space with a great pass. Ryan’s profligacy was typical of what Shels were offering in front of goal.
One minute later saw an incident that threatened to make this Dublin derby boil over. Anto Murphy kicked O’Connor off the ball and followed that up with a push to his face. O’Connor fell theatrically to the ground but there was no doubt that referee Buttimer had to give Murphy his marching orders.
The red card effectively ended the game as a contest. Pats wrapped up the three points five minutes into injury time when the hosts were caught on the counter attack. O’Connor crossed and Bennion gambled as he left his line. Vinny Faherty won the race for the ball and headed into an empty net.
The full-time whistle was blown almost immediately afterwards and Pat’s have nearly secured European football for another season, though the title is realistically now out of their reach.
Shelbourne’s performances have been tepid in recent weeks and their season appears to be petering out with a squad whose lack of depth is showing at this late stage of the season.
A 44th minute goal by Kevin Devanney was enough for Bohemians to claim a deserved win over bitter rivals Shamrock Rovers in their encounter at Tallaght Stadium.
The only goal was not a thing of beauty. Home goalkeeper Jansson flapped at a Ward free kick and and Devanney was on hand to pick up the pieces to finish from six yards out.
Gary Twigg came closest to equaling with a fizzing header five minutes into the second half which smashed off the visitors’ crossbar, but Rovers were limited to long range attempts at goal from there and the Gypsies’ narrow win was merited.
Rovers drew with Shelbourne on Friday night and whatever lingering hopes Stephen Kenny’s men had of retaining the Premier Division title are now well and truly finished. Bohs move up to sixth place and whatever relegation worries they may have had now appear to be gone.
An impressive attacking performance from Cork City earned them a deserved three points at Turner’s Cross against Bray Wanderers, as the Rebel Army look to finish their first season back in the Premier Division season strongly.
Goals in each half from Keigan Parker on the half hour and Gavin Kavanagh just before the hour mark sealed the win for City, although red cards to Ian Turner and Gearóid Morrissey threatened to hinder their result.
City’s goals were very well taken, with a deft chip from Parker opening the scoring and a thundering Kavanagh header (from an Ian Turner corner) apparently sealing the three points until the red cards left the home side severely struggling for numbers against a tidal wave of Seagulls.
The leesiders held on though and a recent upsurge in form means they are now chasing a Setanta Cup place. Bray remain second bottom.
AIRTRICITY LEAGUE PREMIER DIVISION RESULTS (September 10th):
Cork City FC 2-0 Bray Wanderers
Drogheda United 2-1 Derry City
Sligo Rovers 3-0 Dundalk
Shamrock Rovers 0-1 Bohemians
Shelbourne 0-2 St. Patrick’s Athletic