Nielsen winner sees Rovers rise to ninth
Sligo Rovers 3-2 Bray Wanderers
Sligo Rovers gave their hopes of survival a huge boost as they moved up to ninth in the SSE Airtricity League Premier Division table with a narrow 3-2 win over Bray Wanderers at the Showgrounds.
Wanderers took the lead on 27 through Ryan McEvoy but Sligo immediately pegged the Seagulls back courtesy of Dinny Corcoran. Estonian international Sander Puri put Rovers into a 2-1 lead early in the second half before Morten Nielsen doubled their lead on 64. Bray didn't make things easy for Micky Adams' team however as substitute Dave Scully netted two minutes into injury time at the end of the game.
This win sees Rovers move above Galway and Drogheda while just five points separate Bray in sixth and the Tribesmen in the promotion/relegation play-off spot.
Bray had to rely on a strong hand from goalkeeper Peter Cherrie to push away Corcoran's vicious effort on 20. Sligo's top scorer meeting Regan Donelon's cross at the edge of the area but Cherrie was alert enough to get a touch to Corcoran's volley.
Bray full back Daniel O'Reilly almost made the most of some slack Rovers defending when he waltzed by a weak Jason Hughes challenge. O'Reilly firing over from a goal-scoring position.
The game burst into life on 27 minutes with two goals in as many minutes. The Seagulls soared into the lead when David Cassidy's initial shot at goal from a McEvoy corner was blocked down by a group of Rovers defenders. But Chris Lyons was there to bundle the ball across the Sligo line to give Bray the lead.
The Bit O'Red displayed great character to level the game within 60 seconds. Danish striker Nielsen assumed possession at the edge of the centre circle in the Bray half before slipping the ball into the path of Corcoran. The former Bohs man shrugged off the best intentions of the last Bray defender before placing the ball under Cherrie for his 13th goal of the season.
Sligo's Puri passed up a guilt-edged opportunity six minutes from the break. Nielsen's neat chip to the back post was kept in by the hard-working Corcoran and Puri, with the goal at his mercy was unfortunate to head wide of Cherrie's near post.
The second half was just two minutes old when the home side took the lead. Cherrie came to claim Jennison-Myrie Williams' cross from the right, only for the tenacious Puri to rush in in front of the net-minder, robbing the ball from his grasp before tapping into an empty net for his fourth goal of the campaign.
Nielsen made it 3-1 on 64. The Dane latched on to the end of a through ball from the middle and from a relatively tight angle saw his shot squeeze under the body of the frustrated Cherrie who was unable get enough behind the striker's effort.
Brush was largely unconcerned about McEvoy's strike which sailed over the Sligo crossbar with 15 minutes to go as Wanderers struggled to make an impact inside Rovers' final third. Mick Cooke's men were relying largely on set-pieces to unlock the Rovers defence on for a second time.
Cherrie did well to deny substitute Ruairi Keating as the lively attacker made the most of fellow Mayo man Gary Boylan's good work on 82.
Substitute Scully made the home side sweat on 92 as he halved the deficit. His neat turn brought him past a Keane challenge before spinning the ball around Brush and into the bottom corner.
Sligo Rovers: Richard Brush; Gary Boylan, Alan Keane, Tim Clancy, Regan Donelon (for Danny Ledwith 71); Morten Nieslen (for Ruairi Keating 71), David Cawley, Jason Hughes, Sander Puri, Jennison-Myrie Williams; Dinny Corcoran (for Anthony Elding 83).
Subs not used: Ryan Coulter, Raffaele Cretaro, Keith Ward, Rob Lehane.
Bray Wanderers: Peter Cherrie; Michael Barker, Daniel O'Reilly, Hugh Douglas, Niall Cooney (for Adam Mitchell 78); David Cassidy, Ryan McEvoy, Graham Kelly, John Sullivan (for Luke Fitzpatrick 78); Chris Lyons; Adam Wixted (for Dave Scully 70).
Subs not used: Sean Fogarty, Luke Gallagher, Peter McGlynn, Gareth McDonagh.
Referee: Graham Kelly.