Rovers unlucky in Dundalk
DUNDALK SLIGO ROVERS 2 1
PATRICK Hoban’s 11th goal of the season two minutes from time inflicted a harsh defeat on Sligo Rovers at Oriel Park on Friday night.
Hoban’s penalty, his 10th of the season, gave the hosts the lead in the first half, before Rhys McCabe’s spot-kick levelled the scoring before half-time.
Rovers looked as though they had secured a draw, until the Lilywhites netted on 88 minutes to take all three points.
The Bit o’Red had been struggling to find form coming into this game, losing to Bohs in their previous game having beaten Bray Wanderers after drawing with Waterford and St. Patrick’s Athletic.
Manager Ger Lyttle made just one change to the side that suffered a 2-0 defeat against the Gypsies at The Showgrounds the previous week as Jack Keaney dropped to the bench in place of Caolan McAleer.
The Lilywhites bombarded the Rovers rearguard in the early stages of the game, with Mitchell Beeney certainly the busier of the two keepers.
Beeney did well to keep out a Brian Gartland effort with just nine minutes on the clock, before Rhys McCabe’s goal-line clearance kept the hosts at bay, for a few more minutes at the very least.
Michael Duffy sent his free-kick just inches wide of the post, before Chelsea loanee Beeney did well to hold Patrick Hoban’s headed effort.
At that stage, Ger Lyttle’s men were forced to try their luck from distance, with McAleer trying his luck from 25 yards, but former Rovers man Gary Rogers was equal to it.
The hosts did eventually get their chance to open the scoring. Referee Tomas Connolly awarded a penalty after Patrick McClean was adjudged to have fouled Dylan Connolly in the box. Hoban sent his penalty past Beeney to give his side the lead.
McClean tried to make up for his earlier misdemeanour when he turned well and shot at goal on the half hour mark, but his effort was deflected wide.
Rovers felt they should have been awarded a penalty after 45 minutes when McAleer clashed with Rogers in the box, but the referee was not interested.
He did, however, award Rovers a penalty in added time when McAleer was pulled down by Gary Rogers. Rhys McCabe made it 1-1 with seconds to go to the half-time whistle.
Stephen Kenny’s side were building momentum at the beginning of the second-half, with Michael Duffy heading just wide of the target on 47 minutes.
Ronan Murray, a target for Ger Lyttle in the off season, should have put Dundalk ahead when he was put through by Robbie Benson, but he slotted just wide of mark.
The home side felt they should have had a penalty when John Mahon’s strong challenge upended Patrick Hoban, but Tomas Connolly disagreed.
Mahon did well again to get in the way of Hoban who looked set to give Dundalk the lead again.
It was all Dundalk with 20 minutes to go, but Rovers were showing no signs of letting up, with Mitchell Beeney doing well to save Duffy’s effort.
Dylan Connolly and Dundalk substitute Marco Tagbajumi went close, but again Rovers stood strong.
With just two minutes left on the clock, Rovers’ hearts were broken. Hoban rose highest to nod in past Beeney, his second of the game and his 11th of the season.
The Bit o’Red were almost back in the game in the 94th minute when Dean Jarvis cleared off the line following a Rovers attack.
For Rovers, it was a tough defeat to take given how well they played.
They take on St. Patrick’s Athletic tonight in Inchicore in the rescheduled game that was postponed due to snow earlier in the season.
On Saturday, they play host to Shamrock Rovers, kick off is 7.45.
Dundalk: Gary Rogers, Seán Hoare, Brian Gartland, Stephen Folan (Dane Massey 56), Dean Jarvis, Chris Shields (Marco Tagbajumi 79), Robbie Benson, Dylan Connolly, Ronan Murray (Jamie McGrath 66), Michael Duffy, Patrick Hoban
Sligo Rovers: Mitchell Beeney; Gary Boylan, Kyle Callan-McFadden, John Mahon, Patrick McClean (Jack Keaney, 42), Regan Donelon, Caolan McAleer, David Cawley, Rhys McCabe, Raffaele Cretaro (Adam Wixted, 67), Greg Moorhouse (Adam Morgan, 59).
Referee: Tomas Connolly.
Mitchell Beeney clears the danger under pressure from Brian Gartland. Pic: Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile
David Cawley celebrates as he scores Rovers’ winner against Waterford. Pic: Oliver McVeigh/Sportsfile
Kyle Callan McFadden makes a clearance under pressure from Patrick Hoban.