Shelbourne stay rooted to the bottom of the Airtricity League Premier Division after a 2-0 defeat to title chasing Sligo Rovers at the Showgrounds on Friday night.
It was a poor first half with both sides struggling to create much at all in front of goal. The second period was much different though, Seamus Connelly opening the scoring on 58 minutes before Kieran Djilali put the result beyond doubt 12 minutes from time.
Things are looking bleak for Shelbourne who are now five points adrift of Bohemians at the foot of the table. Shelbourne started brightly, creating a half chance when Sean Brennan played the ball through to Philly Hughes. The frontman beat goalkeeper Gary Rogers to the ball but experienced stopper pushed him too wide to get a shot away.
The opening quarter was poor in truth, both sides cancelled each other out in a battle for midfield supremacy.
Just before the half hour mark, finally the champions created an opening, after a ball forward by Kieran Djilali, the Shelbourne defence parted like the Red sea and allowed Danny North to pick his spot, unfortunately for the returning frontman his accuracy was a little off and he fired over from just inside the area.
Shelbourne were making a habit of tugging on the Sligo players jersey’s and on 34 minutes after umpteen fouls for the offence finally Robert Bayly was booked for a tug on Joseph Ndo’s shirt.
Shelbourne began to show some impetuous before the break, some good work down the right from Brennan earned a throw in which was taken quickly by the same man and thrown to Bayly. The former Leeds United man flashed the ball across goal but Philly Hughes failed to latch onto the cross and it was cleared.
Shels continued to press for an opening but Sean Brennan’s corner was the best they could muster in the remaining first half minutes and even that was to close to Gary Rodgers.
Sligo had a chance to take the lead just two minutes into the second half, Ross Gaynor blasting a free kick into the wall before Djilali had his effort blocked by Ian Ryan.
Shelbourne created an opening almost immediately afterwards, Hughes sliding the ball through to Bayly but just has he got his shot away Jeff Henderson came sliding in to make a vital block and keep the Bit O’Red level.
Just before the hour mark, the champions took the lead. Ross Gaynor swung in a corner from the right and when the Shelbourne defence failed to deal with the initial cross, the ball fell to Seamus Conneely, who calmly slotted the ball past the despairing Niall Burdon who has moments earlier made an acrobatic save from Gavin Peers hooked effort.
Sligo went close again on 64 minutes when Gaynor attempted a looping free kick which went inches over Burdon’s crossbar. North rattled the bar with a shot come cross which had Burdon beaten, as the confidence drained from Johnny McDonnell’s men.
Sligo went so close to doubling their advantage on 74 minutes when some good work down the left from Gaynor and North ended with the latter swinging in a stunning ball to David Cawley, the midfielder headed wide of Burdon’s post with the goal gapping in front of him.
The champions doubled their lead on 79 minutes, a cross from the right from North was met by the on rushing Kieran Djilali, he volleyed past Burdon who could only watch on in disgust at the time afforded to Djlali in the area by the Shels defence.
Shelbourne could have been handed a lifeline just two minutes later when the ball fell to Hughes inside the box, he attempted to shoot but it was cleared for a corner by Henderson. From the corner, Brennan fizzed the ball into the area and Graham Gartland headed over from close range.
Sligo began to sit back a bit but still created the next clear cut chance, a header down from substitute Evan McMillan to fellow sub Lee Lynch brought a good attempt from Lynch, the ball sailing over Burdon’s net.
Shelbourne did create another opportunity before full time, Darren Tinnelly striking tamely at Rodgers from inside the Bit O’Red area. Djilali almost added insult to injury in stoppage time, great skill down the left opening up the space for a shot which flashed wide of Burdon’s post.
That was the final meaningful effort on goal. It was a game where Shelbourne flattered to deceive in front of goal as Sligo notched up a second win in a row over Dublin sides either side of the mid season break.
Shelbourne: Niall Burdon; Brian Shortall (Robert Cornwall 55), Ian Ryan, Graham Gartland, Pat Flynn; Darren Tinnelly, Glenn Cronin, Robert Bayly, Sean Brennan (Adam Hanlon 84), Gareth O’Connor (Mark Leech 66); Philip Hughes.
Subs not used: Ger Hanley (GK), Stephen Sheerin, Craig Mooney, Alex Prizeman.
Booked: Bayly (34), Flynn (62), S Brennan (71), Gartland (89).
Sligo Rovers: Gary Rodgers; Alan Keane, Gavin Peers, Jeff Henderson, Iarfhlaith Davoren; Kieran Djilali, David Cawley, Seamus Conneely, Joseph Ndo (Liam Martin 80), Ross Gaynor (Lee Lynch 74); Danny North (Evan McMillan 84).
Subs not used: Ciaran Kelly (GK), Ryan Connolly, Jake Dykes, Marty Owens.
Referee: Neil Doyle.
Extratime.ie Man of the Match: Kieran Djilali (Sligo Rovers).