In a slightly more subdued atmosphere than the one which greeted Cork City the last time they played at home, the Leesiders just about managed to cling on for victory, despite a great fightback by the men from the north west.
Despite Karl Sheppard putting Cork City ahead inside 30 seconds from a Dan Murray through ball, the first half looked at times like a training game.
Cork City were being gifted too much space and Sligo couldn’t keep up with them. Although the Bit O’ Red stuck one back – from a neat John Russell finish after 38 minutes – this goal didn’t reflect how difficult it was for Sligo to penetrate.
Sheppard’s second goal, a tap in following Liam Miller’s shot across Richard Brush, which preceded Sligo’s goal, was the least the Leesiders deserved, considering how they dominated the ‘chances created’ stats.
Aside from the odd turn of pace from Steven Beattie, the home side dominated the opening half with plenty of shots on goal as well as a penalty save from Sheppard’s effort on 12 minutes.
The Leesiders deserved their 2-1 lead at half-time.
The second half saw a much more even game with Sligo making matters more difficult for City. Much of the forays forward from both sides failed to threaten.
The fact that it was a set-piece which put Sligo back on level terms (a tapped in corner from substitute Kevin Devaney) just exemplified the fact that open play was producing very little.
After Sligo’s equaliser did go in, it was backs to the wall for the Bit O’ Red, aside from Devaney’s late chance to steal the three points when he went through one on one.
It was Mark O’Sullivan who stole the show however, with his low and accurate shot to the bottom left handing City the three points, as it finished 3-2 at Turner’s Cross.
The former Drogheda United man made the most of his starting place by putting in a Man of the Match performance. His composure on the ball and his near-perfect distribution accompanied his midfield counterparts Colin Healy and Liam Miller perfectly.
It’s difficult to pick one Sligo player out for what was a great fightback but the Bit O’ Red’s number eight largely failed to contribute positively to Sligo’s midfield battles, particularly after half-time.
Steven Beattie vs Kevin O’Connor
The home side’s new boy at left-back and the lightening quick Beattie made for a great contest on the wing.
Winner: Beattie for his cross, which led to Rovers’ first goal.
Mark O’Sullivan’s goal at the death received the largest cheer of the night, and rightly so, as he stroked the ball home.
What Happens Next?
Cork City now go back into second place due to St. Pat’s and Rovers’ game being cancelled tonight. The Leesiders face Drogheda on Monday night.
Sligo sit in tenth with their next game also against the Drogs next weekend.
McNulty, Kavanagh, Murray, Dennehy, O’Connor, Djilali, Healy, Holohan, Miller, Sheppard, O’Sullivan
Morrissey, Smith, McSweeney, Dennehy, Lehane, Buckley, Kearney.
Brush, Keane, Folan, Dykes, Boylan, Wearen, Corcoran, Cawley, Puri, Beattie, Russell,
Coulter, Ledwith, Devaney, Cretaro, Ward, Armstrong, McManus.
Rob Lyons, Pundit Arena