Cork 1-2 Rovers - Report
Sligo Rovers made it six games without defeat with a wonderful 2-1 win over Cork City at Turner's Cross in the SSE Airtricity League Premier Division.
Kieran Sadlier made the most of a Mark McNulty blunder in the eighth minute to give the Bit O'Red the lead before Raffaele Cretaro bundled the ball across the City goal line in added time at the end of an impressive first half from the away side.
Cork were unable to add to Sean Maguire's 76th minute penalty despite creating a multitude of chances as the Rovers defence held strong.
The result, Rovers' first win over Cork since 2013 sees City remain six points behind the Lilywhites with one game in hand while Rovers recorded their second win on the road in four days.
Taking part in their first league fixture in almost a month following their European exploits, it was City who fell behind early on courtesy of that McNulty mistake. Dave Mulcahy went back to base as he used his goalkeeper in an effort to keep hold of possession. McNulty, with the sun in his eyes, mishit his attempted pass which landed straight on the toe of Sadlier who, from 25 yards volleyed the ball first time into an open goal for his third strike in two games.
City struggled to carve open a stout Rovers defence during the opening stages. Karl Sheppard misjudged the trajectory of Stephen Dooley's corner on the quarter hour having picked out a good position at the edge of the six yard box. The ball instead sailed past the 25-year-old who had done well to find space in front of his marker.
Pat McCann, one of Rovers' recent signings saw his left-footed volley drift past McNulty's post on 23 as Sligo continued their steady start.
The Leesiders were then offered two chances to level the game just past the half hour. Mark O'Sullivan headed Greg Bolger's searching set piece from the left wide of Micheál Schlingermann's goal on 32 after Tobi Adebayo-Rowling had brought down Dooley. While Dooley himself dragged his shot wide a minute later having linked up with former Rovers striker Sean Maguire.
Schlingermann threw his cap on Gearóid Morrisey's attempt four minutes from the break while the Mayo man was called into action again three minutes later to keep out Sheppard.
Caulfield's side were left to rue these missed opportunities as Sligo doubled their lead in injury time at the end of the half. Cretaro was rewarded for his endeavour after he forced the ball around McNulty before managing to squeeze the ball over the line despite the best efforts of a discouraged Bolger.
Schlingermann was again on hand to frustrate City during the opening seconds of a second period which the Munster side dominated. O'Sullivan and Dooley combined to set up Sheppard who saw his drive collected low down to his left by the astute Schlingermann. While the Sligo number one gathering Maguire's header from a Dooley corner two minutes later.
Schlingermann continued to deny the ongoing City onslaught as he held on to efforts from both Kevin O'Connor and Sheppard on 50 and 52 minutes respectively.
Maguire really should have levelled against his former employers on 64 but somehow managed to fluff his lines from close range from an O'Sullivan cross.
The City pressure eventually told on 76 albeit from the penalty spot. Jimmy Keohane's shoulder challenge bringing O'Sullivan to the ground inside the Sligo area, inviting Maguire to dink the ball down the middle from twelve yards for his eighth league goal of the campaign.
Cork substitute Ian Turner lashed his 20-yarder over the bar having been teed up by a Bolger free eight minutes from time as the home side's tireless search for an equaliser went on.
Steven Beattie was next to go agonisingly close to an equaliser but his shot kissed the crossbar on its way over in the fourth of five added minutes. While Danny Morrisey, a 55th minute Cork change, saw his attempted lob with his back to goal hit the side netting on 96.
Rovers' next game is our home tie with Shamrock Rovers, this Friday night. Kick off at the Showgrounds is 7.45pm.
Cork City: Mark McNulty; Steven Beattie, Dave Mulcahy, Kenny Browne, Kevin O'Connor; Karl Sheppard (Danny Morrisey 55), Gearóid Morrisey (Garry Buckley 69), Greg Bolger, Stephen Dooley (Ian Turner 77); Sean Maguire, Mark O'Sullivan.
Sligo Rovers: Micheál Schlingermann; Tobi-Adebayo Rowling, Gary Boylan (Gavin Peers 64), Mick Leahy, Jimmy Keohane; Kieran Sadlier (Mikey Place 87), Pat McCann, Craig Roddan, Liam Martin; Raffaele Cretaro (John Russell 72), Achille Campion.
Referee: Robert Harvey.