Report: Dundalk 1-0 Rovers

Sligo Rovers suffered a narrow defeat on Friday night away to Dundalk at Oriel Park.

The Bit O’ Red came into the game without defender Garry Buckley who wasn’t risked on the artificial surface after he returned from a knee injury recently.

Luke McNicholas joined Wrexham AFC yesterday so Conor Walsh started in goal for the first time this season.

John Russell brought John Mahon back into the starting eleven for Buckley and David Cawley captained the side in place of Kailin Barlow.

The game started fairly evenly with both sides creating a half chance each in the opening few minutes.

The biggest chance fell to striker Pedro Martelo as a cross from the left found him at the back post but his header flashed just wide, letting the hosts off the hook.

A minute later, Dundalk were in front. Archie Davies dug out a cross from the right and found Daniel Kelly at the back post who headed home from close range.

Rovers again had plenty of possession and looked threatening on the break with Martelo leading the line well and bringing others into play.

Greg Bolger found Stefan Radosavljevic inside the box but his effort was just too high, and Rovers trailed at the break.

The Bit O’ Red started the second half on the front foot, looking to break forward at every opportunity.

On the hour, John Russell introduced Fabrice Hartmann and Karl O’ Sullivan for Johan Brannefalk and David Cawley and Rovers continued to press forward from there on in.

Frank Liivak, who did well all night at right-back got down the right hand side on a few occasions but couldn’t quite pick anyone out in the area. The Estonian then had big claims for a penalty as it looked as if he was bundled over inside the area but the referee waived play on.

Martelo was denied by Nathan Shepperd minutes later with a dipping volley and he then flashed a cross-come-shot across the six yard box but no Rovers player was on the end of it.

Goalkeeper Conor Walsh, who was impressive all evening, denied sub Johannes Yli-Kokko who shot from just inside the area as the hosts looked to double their lead. Patrick Hoban was also denied by Walsh with a close range header.

Kailin Barlow and Reece Hutchinson, who returned following 10 weeks out through injury, replaced Lukas Browning and Greg Bolger for the final 15 minutes but Rovers couldn’t manage to score that all illusive equaliser.

Next up is a home game with Shelbourne on Saturday, August 26th at 7.45pm at The Showgrounds.