Sligo Rovers' push to main to retain their league crown is still alive after a scarcely deserved 2-0 win away at Bohemians.
Goals in either half from Gavin Peers and Aaron Greene were enough to secure all three points for the visitors on a cold and wet night in Phibsboro.
They rode their luck on occasions though, and Bohemians caretaker manager Owen Heary may well come away scratching his head over how his charges failed to get anything out of the game.
Peers opened the scoring on 16 minutes when he rose well to meet a Kieran Djilali corner and head home at the near post.
Despite the home side having more of the ball for long periods and creating some great chances, Greene wrapped up all three points for the champions with a breakaway goal on 59 minutes.
Both sides had spells spells of possession without creating any clear cut chances in the opening quarter.
When, on 15 minutes, Sligo’s David McMillan was fouled by Roberto Lopes 30 yards from goal, the resulting free from Aaron Greene had lots of power, but not much in the way of direction and Bohs keeper Dean Delany turned it around the post for a corner.
It was from that corner that Peers scored. He rose well at the near post to meet Djilali’s dead ball and the away side led.
The goal failed to have the settling effect Ian Barraclough would have wanted and it was Bohemians, in fact, who used the ball better and created better opportunities for the rest of the half.
Some sections of the home support thought they had equalised within two minutes of going behind, but when Derek Pender’s effort from Karl Moore’s corner set the net rippling, it was just the wrong side of the post.
Conor Murphy had two headed efforts from close range before the break. The first, from a Bohemians corner on 26 minutes, was headed toward him by captain Dave Mulcahy, but Murphy’s own effort was scrambled clear.
The second, on 39 minutes, came from a Pender free kick from the left hand side on the halfway line. Luke Byrne met the free and steered the ball across the face of the goal and Murphy will have been very disappointed not to have hit the target..
When Anto Murphy’s header from a Karl Moore corner on the stroke of half-time was cleared off the line by Alan Keane, the Gypsies must have been wondering how they had not achieved parity by the break.
The Dublin side started the second half as impressively and again it was Conor Murphy who could have equalised. Six minutes in, Karl Moore broke forward through the middle before passing it to Murphy, whose curling effort with his right foot drifted agonisingly wide.
Almost unbelievably, and certainly against the run of play, Sligo doubled their lead. Following another Bohemians attack, David McMillan broke quickly up the left and fed Aaron Greene who slotted home clinically from just inside the box.
That goal took the sting out of the game, and the final 30 minutes were played out in a subdued atmosphere as the home supporters and their team seemed to bow to the inevitability of the result.
Bohemians: Dean Delany, Derek Pender, Roberto Lopes, Anto Murphy, Luke Byrne, Keith Buckley, Ryan McIvor (Darragh Reynor 67), Dave Mulcahy, Karl Moore, Stephen Traynor, Conor Murphy (Chris Lyons 75)
Sligo Rovers: Gary Rogers, Alan Keane, Danny Ventre, Gavin Peers, Iarfhlaith Davoren (Liam Martin 88), Anthony Elding (Lee Lynch 76), David McMillan (Danny North 62), Aaron Greene, Kieran Djilali, Séamus Conneely, David Cawley
Referee: G Kelly
Highlights and analysis of all the weekend’s action on MNS from 7pm on Monday 9 September on RTÉ Two and RTE.ie (Worldwide).