Corcoran penalty hands Rovers first league win
By David Goulden at Eamonn Deacy Park
Sligo Rovers picked up a long awaited first league win of the season with a 1-0 win over Galway United at Eamonn Deacy Park in the SSE Airtricity League Premier Division.
A hotly contested early penalty did the damage as Dinny Corcoran's strike from twelve yards with just five minutes played meant Rovers moved off the bottom of the table.
Sligo were awarded the spot-kick which decided the outcome of this game after Galway goalkeeper Ger Hanley came to punch away Steven Beattie's cross. In doing so, he collided with Raffaele Cretaro and referee Neil Doyle pointed to the spot, much to the dismay of the home crowd. But Corcoran stood up to slot the ball past Hanley to give Rovers an early lead.
Sligo almost doubled their lead two minutes later but Stephen Walsh did well to head Corcoran's attempted lob off the United line following a well weighted through ball from Stephen Folan.
The game became a well contested one although both sides struggled to create any clear cut opportunities until a lapse in concentration offered Rovers another chance on 34. Walsh lost possession in the centre of the field to David Cawley who fed Kevin Devaney on the Sligo left, but his bended effort from the edge of the area never really worried Hanley in the United nets.
Galway's Enda Curran almost profited from a mistake from Rovers goalkeeper Richard Brush in the minutes that followed. The Birmingham native misjudged Jake Dykes' back pass on a bumpy pitch and was lucky to see his attempted clearance bounce back off Curran before gliding past his near post.
Curran caused Sligo more problems five minutes from the break as his neat turn brought him past Sligo centre half Folan, but his shot whistled past Brush's post as Owen Heary's troops found in difficult to gain a foot hold in the Galway half following an impressive start.
Rovers had Folan to thank shortly before the break when Paul Sinnott charged through a host of Sligo defenders. Folan stood strong however and took the ball off the toes of Sinnott with a superb tackle inside his own area.
Galway had improved from their weak start. Brush spilled Walsh's drive from distance a minute into injury time at the end of the half, but no United striker was available to pounce and the Sligo goalkeeper claimed the ball at the second attempt.
The Tribesmen began the second half as they finished the first and almost found a coveted leveller on 51. A free-kick from 40 yards was floated in by former Rovers winger Ryan Connolly and managed to evade a series of Sligo defenders before Gary Shanahan got the slightest of touches to guide the ball towards goal. Brush was on hand however to scramble the ball away before danger was eventually cleared.
David O'Leary swung his snapshot above Brush's crossbar on 65, while Sligo substitute Morten Nielsen headed straight at Hanley 90 seconds later. Fellow sub Sander Puri saw his vicious drive fizz wide shortly after as the game became end to end.
Gary Boylan had to be alert to clear Shanahan's volleyed cross which landed awkwardly at Brush's back post on 74. Galway enjoying plenty of possession in front of an inexperienced Sligo defence but to little effect.
Cunningham headed straight at Brush from another Shanahan cross as Galway continued to press for an equaliser with twelve left. Nielsen almost put the game to bed a minute later but he shot wide with a drilled left footed effort from the edge of the area moments before Hanley palmed away Cawley's volley from 25 yards.
Nielsen was extremely fortunate not to be sent off two minutes from time when he went through the back of Walsh with both a late and dangerous tackle after the Galway man dispossessed the imposing Dane.
Galway did have one last chance in the third minute of added time at the end of the game but O'Leary's neatly-hit volley was comfortable for Brush.
Sligo Rovers: Richard Brush; Gary Boylan, Stephen Folan, Ryan McManus, Jake Dykes; Steven Beattie (for Sander Puri 50), Raffaele Cretaro (for Eoin Wearen 83), John Russell, David Cawley, Kevin Devaney; Dinny Corcoran (for Morten Nielsen 65).
Subs not used: Ryan Coulter, Gary Armstrong, Morten Nielsen, Alan Keane.
Galway United: Ger Hanley; Alex Byrne, Colm Horgan Kevin Garcia, Stephen Walsh; Ryan Connolly, Paul Sinnott, David O'Leary, Gary Shanahan; Jake Keegan (for Padraic Cunningham 70), Enda Curran.
Subs not used: Conor Gleeson, Cormac Raftery, Conor Barry, Antaine O'Laoi, Aaron McDonagh.
Referee: Neil Doyle (Dublin)