Sligo Rovers moved five points clear at the top of the Airtricity Premier Division after defeating Limerick 2-1 at The Showgrounds.
Limerick originally took the lead through Craig Curran, but Anthony Elding’s 5th goal in four league games levelled things up before half-time. A goalmouth scramble in the 83rd minute put Sligo ahead thanks to Jeff Henderson, and there was no way back for the visitors.
Ian Baraclough made one change to the team that defeated Dundalk 3-1 on Tuesday, with Jeff Henderson coming in to replace the injured Gavin Peers. Stuart Taylor also made just one change to his Limerick side which beat UCD 1-0, as Axel Bossekota took the place of David O’Leary,
Limerick’s first opportunity came on six minutes, when Shane Tracy’s free-kick was headed on by Brian O’Callaghan towards the Rovers goal, but ‘keeper Gary Rogers gathered.
The home side had the best of the early chances, but Barry Ryan wasn’t forced into action until seven minutes on, when Cretaro’s excellent shot from the right was saved by the Co. Clare man, and Aaron Greene was unable to make use of the loose ball.
The champions had the ball in the net soon afterwards through target man Anthony Elding, although it was adjudged to be offside. The visitors found themselves getting into the game, but failed to do anything with the possession they had.
It took 33 minutes for the opener to come, and it was Taylor’s men who opened the scoring. Darragh Rainsford’s surging run down the left saw his cross meet Craig Curran, and the former Rochdale man beat Gary Rogers in goal to put Lims ahead.
The Blues were on top following their goal, and could have doubled their lead in the 39th minute. Aaron Greene’s poor throw allowed Limerick possession in a dangerous area, and a good effort from Rainsford forced an excellent save from Rogers. The follow up from Curran was blocked by Evan McMillan, who threw his whole body in the way.
Not ones to be knocked down easily, the champions were back on equal terms thanks to the popular Anthony Elding, just seconds before the break. Alan Keane’s sublime cross was met by the former Grimsby man who rose above everyone else and headed home.
The Bit o’Red had the ball in the net once again on the 53rd minute from goal-scorer Anthony Elding from a Lee Lynch cross, but the linesman’s flag had been raised. Clear-cut chances were few and far between from then on, but Cretaro went close to putting Sligo ahead when he collected Keane’s cross, but a deflection weakened the effort and Barry Ryan was down to collect easily.
The game quietened down significantly soon after, but was sprung back into life when Lee Lynch’s cross for Anthony Elding was headed out by Stephen Folan for a Rovers corner, nothing came of the resulting corner, although Evan McMillan did attempt an overhead kick which was far too high.
Although guilty of wasting a number of chances throughout, Sligo went ahead on the 83rd minute. Elding’s ball was slipped into the net by former Newcastle man Jeff Henderson after messing in the Limerick box.
The visitors claimed heavily for a penalty when Danny Galbraith was brought down by Kieran Djilali in the Sligo box, but he received a yellow for his woes, although the former Hibernian man may have had reason to complain. The full-time whistle was blown, but the action didn’t stop there. Limerick ‘keeper Barry Ryan was given a red card for confronting referee Rob Rogers.
Sligo Rovers: Gary Rogers; Alan Keane, Evan McMillan, Jeff Henderson, Ross Gaynor; Raffaele Cretaro (Kieran Djilali, 75), David Cawley, Lee Lynch, Seamus Conneely, Aaron Greene (Ryan Connolly, 64); Anthony Elding.
Subs not used: Ciaran Kelly, Pascal Millien, Iarfhlaith Davoren, Liam Martin, Marty Owens.
Limerick FC: Barry Ryan; Patrick Nzuzi, Stephen Folan, Brian O’Callaghan, Robbie Williams (Shaun Kelly, 46); Shane Tracy (Steve McGann, 69), Joe Gamble, Danny Galbraith, Axel Bossekota, Joe Gamble; Craig Curran, Darragh Rainsford (Stephen Bradley, 56).
Subs not used: Shane Cusack, Barry Sheedy, Aaron Browne, Shane Costelloe.
Bookings: Curran (3), Bradley (77), Galbraith (93).
Sendings Off: B Ryan (95).
Referee: Rob Rogers.
extratime.ie Man of the Match: Lee Lynch (Sligo Rovers).