Sligo Rovers' chances of automatic promotion were hit by another heavy defeat at the hands of fellow promotion hopefuls Waterford United at The Showgrounds this evening. This was United's third victory over Rovers this season following 3-2 and 4-1 wins earlier in the campaign, and again Paul Power's side return to the south-east with all three points in the bag after a 3-1 win.

Alan Kirby set the visitors on their way with a penalty after 14 minutes, and David Whittle gave them a two-goal cushion just three minutes into the second half. Alan Reynolds put the result beyond doubt with the third after 58 minutes, and despite Padraig Moran's goal 25 minutes from time, there was no way back for Tommy Cassidy's side.

The win now moves Waterford into fourth, one point above Rovers, but the north-west club do have a game in hand. Both clubs are now in contention for second and third spots, together with Athlone Town and Monaghan United, with the outcome to be decided by the final round of matches next week.

Meanwhile, in the night's other eircom First Division match, goals from Mark Quinless and Gareth Byrne in either half gave Drogheda United a 2-0 victory over Cobh Ramblers at United Park to move them off the bottom of the table.

Filed by Shane Murray