A Morten Nielsen brace along with strikes from Jason Hughes and Anthony Elding on his Rovers return propelled the Bit O'Red to a superb 4-0 win over ten-man Drogheda United at Hunky Dorys Park in Drogheda on Friday night.
Nielsen fired Rovers into the lead on 26 minutes, just moments after United had Robert Bayly dismissed for a dangerous challenge on the busy John Russell. Russell, who produced a mammoth performance on his return from a hip injury, was involved as he centred for Nielsen who rose above his marker to nod past Micheál Schlingermann.
Micky Adams' side deservedly doubled their lead just past the half hour mark when Hughes profited from a mix-up in the Drogs defence. The industrious midfielder nicking possession in front of the penatly area before neatly slipping the ball under the oncoming Schlingermann.
Nielsen effectively sealed the tie on and made it 3-0 on 51 when he tapped into the United net. Again it was Russell involved as his well weighted cross picked out the Dane whose initial effort was stopped by Schlingermann. But the alert Nielsen was there to profit from the second ball as he netted his second of the tie.
Nielsen almost had his hat-trick minutes later when he combined once more with Russell, but he was unfortunate to see his effort rush wide of the near post having lost his marker.
Three became four six minutes from time when substitute Keith Ward was tripped by Michael Daly inside the United area. Fellow replacement Elding stood up to send Schlingermann the wrong way for his first goal for the club since the 2013 FAI Cup Final.
The win sees Rovers cut the gap between themselves, Galway, Derry and Drogheda to just three points with the Candystripes up next.
Kick-off at the Showgrounds on Monday night is 7.45pm.
Drogheda United: Micheal Schlingermann; Michael Daly, Alan Byrne, Robert O’Reilly, Mark O’Brien; Adam Whelan (Stephen Maher 29), Sean Thornton, Robert Bayly, Jason Marks; Lee Duffy (Mark Hughes 73); Ger Pender.
Sligo Rovers: Richard Brush; Alane Keane, Gavin Peers, Tim Clancy, Regan Donelon; Raffaele Cretaro (Anthony Elding 76), Jason Hughes, John Russell (Keith Ward 73), Gary Boylan, Sander Puri; Morten Nielsen (Dinny Corcoran 76).