Neale Fenn has made a disappointing start to his reign in charge of Cork City as they were beaten 4-2 by Sligo Rovers at Turner's Cross on Friday night.
A brace apiece from Ronan Coughlan and Romeo Parkes was enough to earn Sligo the three points at the expense of a spirited City side, who twice responded in vain through Dan Casey and Shane Griffin.
Fenn made five changes to the City side that was dumped out of the FAI Cup in the second round by first division side Galway United last Friday evening.
They threatened twice in the opening stages but both efforts came from distance with Eoghan Stokes and Daire O’Connor failed to truly cause the keeper problems.
Liam Buckley made just the one change to his side that defeated Limerick 6-2 in an extraordinary Cup tie last time out with Dante Leverock – who was sent off in the match – dropping to the bench with Kyle McFadden taking his spot.
Sligo responded with long-range attempts of their own but Romeo Parkes and John Mahon sent the ball wide of the target.
The visitors should have taken the lead just shy of the quarter-hour mark, but following an incisive move between Kris Twardek and Regan Donelon, defender John Mahon could only send his close range header over the bar.
Rovers took the lead with 31 minutes on the clock as Romeo Parkes skipped past the challenge of Dan Casey before slotting the ball under the advancing Mark McNulty.
This was the fourth meeting between the two sides in the league this season and their last two encounters ended in draws, while City defeated Rovers 2-1 at the showgrounds back in February.
And Sligo’s lead only lasted two minutes as the Leesider’s levelled the scores when Dan Casey emphatically planted his header into the net from Shane Griffin’s corner despite the best efforts of the defence on the line.
City’s attacking approach left the vulnerable at the back and just before the half time break they were punished when former striker Ronan Coughlan coolly drilled the ball into the bottom left corner of the Shed End goal.
Fenn introduced Mark O’Sullivan at the beginning of the second period but his strike partner Eoghan Stokes soon missed to decent opening with his head.
He was punished just past the hour-mark as Romeo Parkes grabbed his second and his side’s third when he found the roof of the net from a couple of yards.
City continued to pile forward and they were given hope when Shane Griffin found the top left corner with a stunning strike to reduce the deficit.
But as they again piled players forward late, they were undone by a McNulty error which allowed Coughlan to score from a couple of yards to earn Rovers the three points.
Cork City: Mark McNulty; Colm Horgan (Josh Honohan 76), Alan Bennett, Dan Casey, Shane Griffin; Conor McCormack, Garry Buckley; Daire O’Connor (Mark O’Sullivan 53), Karl Sheppard, Joel Coustrain; Eoghan Stokes (Alec Byrne 80).
Sligo Rovers: Edward McGinty; Lewis Banks, John Mahon, Kyle McFadden, Regan Donelon (Niall Morahan 73); David Cawley, John Russell, Kris Twarderk; Daryl Fordyce, Romeo Parkes, Ronan Coughlan.
Referee: Robert Harvey.