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Sligo Rovers 2-1 Limerick

Updated: Saturday, 23 Mar 2013 22:55 | Comments

Sligo Rovers boss Ian Barraclough
Sligo Rovers boss Ian Barraclough

Sligo Rovers maintained their 100% record in this year's Airtricity League Premier Division and extended their lead to five points with a hard fought 2-1 win over Limerick at the Showgrounds.

Goals from Anthony Elding and Jeff Henderson cancelled out Craig Curran's opener in what was a thoroughly enthralling game.

However, the encounter ended in controversy as Daniel Galbraith was adjudged to have simulated inside the Sligo area after he fell under the challenge of Kieran Djilali.

Lims keeper Barry Ryan was shown a red card by referee Rob Rogers after he remonstrated with the official after the full-time whistle.

Sligo boss Ian Baraclough was without long-term injury victim Danny North (knee), while Danny Ventre (leg) and Joseph Ndo (hand) also missed out. Centre-half Jeff Henderson was Sligo's only change as he replaced Gavin Peers, who was a late withdrawal due to the flaring up of a hamstring injury he picked up during last Tuesday's win over Dundalk.

Stuart Taylor brought his side to the north west minus Rory Gaffney, David O' Leary, Jeffrey Judge and Dominic Foley, who all continue their respective stints on the treatment table. Axel Bossekota returned to the Shannonsiders' starting XI having missed Tuesday's win over UCD through suspension.

It was the home side who looked more threatening in the opening exchanges, although it was the First Division champions who almost took the lead with seven minutes played.

Brian O' Callaghan's initial header was spilled by Sligo goalkeeper Gary Rogers but the Meath native did just enough to smother the ball with the lively Craig Curran ready to pounce.

The home side went close on seven minutes when Limerick goalkeeper Barry Ryan did enough to keep out a Raffaele Cretaro effort a minute before Anthony Elding saw his strike ruled out for offside.

Both teams struggled to break down each other's defences, before Curran opened the scoring on 32 minutes. His low drive from just inside the Sligo area beat Rogers low to his right, much to the delight of the travelling support.

Stuart Taylor's side almost doubled their lead on 40 minutes when Aaron Greene conceded possession from a throw-in. The Shannonsiders worked the ball into the Rovers penalty area, before Darragh Rainsford's shot was parried away by Rogers. Evan McMillan did just enough to keep out Curran's rebound seconds later.

Sligo eventually breached the Limerick back-line three minutes into stoppage-time at the end of the first half. Lee Lynch found Keane on the right and the Galway man's cross was met by the head of the Elding, who headed past Ryan to level the game.

Elding had the ball in the Limerick net again on 52 minutes when Cretaro, Keane and Lynch combined to set up the former Grimsby man, who slotted the ball into the net only to be adjudged offside. Keane and Cretaro both went close on 60 and 63 minutes respectively but Ryan was equal to both attempts.

Limerick could have recaptured the lead eleven minutes from time as Keane failed to control his back pass to Rogers but the keeper was again alert to claim possession of the ball with Axel Bossekota ready to capitalise on any mistake.

The champions did eventually take the lead with just seven minutes remaining as substitute Ryan Connolly's cross was kept in play by Elding whose ball to the front post was bundled across the line by Jeff Henderson despite the attention of several Limerick defenders.

Blues winger Galbraith looked to have earned his side a late penalty four minutes into injury-time when Djilali's over-zealous tackle saw the former Manchester United winger fall to the ground but referee Rogers deemed Galbraith to have simulated.

Ryan was then shown red moments after the final whistle as he protested the decision.

Sligo Rovers: Gary Rogers; Alan Keane, Jeff Henderson, Evan McMillan, Ross Gaynor; Raffaele Cretaro, Lee Lynch, David Cawley, Seamus Conneely, Aaron Greene; Anthony Elding.

Subs: Ciaran Kelly, Liam Martin, Ryan Connolly (for Greene 64), Martin Owens, Kieran Djilali (for Cretaro 75), Pascal Millien, Iarfhlaith Davoren.

Limerick: Barry Ryan; Patrick Nzuzi, Stephen Folan, Brian O' Callaghan, Robbie Williams; Danny Galbraith, Shane Tracy, Joe Gamble, Axel Bossekota; Craig Curran, Darragh Rainsford.

Subs: Shane Cusack, Shaun Kelly (for Williams HT), Barry Sheedy, Aaron Browne, Shane Costelloe, Steve McGann (for Tracy 69), Stephen Bradley (for Rainsford 56).

Sent off: Barry Ryan

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