A first goal for the club from Garry Buckley put Sligo Rovers top of the SSE Airtricity League Premier Division table, overnight at least, as Liam Buckley's side came away from Bishopsgate with all three points to maintain their unbeaten start to the campaign.

Central defender Buckley got the only goal of a scrappy encounter early in the second half in the midlands sunshine as newly promoted Longford’s bright start to the season came to an end.

Though Sligo dominated the first half, and were good value for their goal when it came just after the break, Longford played their way back into the game throughout the second half but couldn’t find an equaliser.

Enjoying the better of the early possession, Sligo didn't allow the home side to settle, with the high press seeing Greg Bolger win a free kick off Aaron O'Driscoll which Robbie McCourt curled tamely wide.

It was over 10 minutes before Town threatened from a route one approach. Callum Warfield nodded down Lee Stacey’s long clearance into the path of Dean Byrne whose hurried volley was over the crossbar.

But the home side were fortunate not to be punished eight minutes later when Joe Gorman was caught in possession on the halfway line. 

Jordan Gibson raced forward to set up Romeo Parkes who completely scuffed his shot well off target when he should have done better.

There was another let-off for Longford from a set-piece on 20 minutes.

Skipper David Calwey’s free kick picked out Niall Morahan in acres of space on the far side of the area. The ball was pulled back for Gibson whose shot Buckley just couldn’t get a touch to as Stacey gratefully gathered.

Town were forced into a change before the half hour when  Byrne retired injured. His replacement Callum Thompson almost made an immediate impact, crossing for Warfield who, despite turning smartly, shot into the side meeting.

And that was also the last action Warfield saw as he also came off injured on 36 minutes as Aaron Dobbs entered the fray.

Embattled Longford then had Stacey to thank for not finding themselves behind three minutes later when failing to fully clear a corner.

Morahan recycled the ball on the right to cross. Parkes cleverly laid it into the path of 17-year-old Johnny Kenny who looked to find the top corner off his right foot only for Stacey to go full stretch and brilliantly touch the shot round a post.


But there was no reprieve for Longford as they were undone from another corner two minutes into the second half.

McCourt’s crisp delivery found Parkes at the back post. And though his header was partially blocked by a defender, Buckley was there to nod the loose ball to the net.

Town needed a response and almost got it minutes later. A Dylan Grimes cross broke for Aodh Dervin who drilled narrowly wide from the edge of the area.

Longford now had far more about them as the game opened up and the same pair combined to come so very close to levelling on 83 minute.

O’Driscoll flicked on a long throw, Grimes turned to set up Dervin whose shot was deflected just past a post and out for a corner. 

Longford Town: Lee Stacey; Karl Chambers (Aaron McNally 69), Aaron O’Driscoll, Joe Gorman, Paddy Kirk; Aodh Dervin, Dean Zambra (Conor Davis 69), Aaron Bolger; Dean Byrne (Callum Thompson 29), Callum Warfield (Aaron Dobbs 36), Dylan Grimes.

Sligo Rovers: Ed McGinty; Colm Horgan, John Mahon, Garry Buckley, Robbie McCourt; Niall Morahan, Greg Bolger: Jordan Gibson (Walter Figuiera 82), David Cawley (Mark Byrne 64), Romeo Parkes; Johnny Kenny (Ryan de Vries 74).

Referee: Damien MacGraith (Mayo).