Bohemians came alive in the second half with goals from Jonathan Afolabi, who scored twice, and Ali Coote getting them back to winning ways in the league with a 3-1 win over Sligo Rovers.

A first victory in six league outings moves Declan Devine's side back above Shelbourne into fourth place in the table to maintain their quest for Europe on two fronts.

But it was Sligo who started the brighter here, carving the game’s first chance in a lightning counterattack on five minutes.

Karl O’Sullivan outpaced Bartlomiej Kukulowicz down the left to cross for Pedro Martelo who just couldn’t make contact with the goal at his mercy.

Bohemians threatened for the first time five minutes later, Coote threading Afolabi through. Sligo goalkeeper Richard Brush was fully alert to the danger, racing out to clear at the striker’s feet.

But with a good shape to them, Sligo had settled the better, stretching the home defence again on 16 minutes.

O’Sullivan and skipper David Cawley worked the ball to Reece Hutchinson on the left. His cross picked out Fabrice Hartmann at the back post but the shot from a tight angle lacked sufficient power to trouble James Talbot.

Bohemians manager Devine had this week bemoaned his side’s lack of cutting edge in recent games and it was evident here again as they struggled to create openings.

That was until the 23rd minute when they were inches from taking the lead.

James McManus sent Connolly away to nip in behind Hutchinson. The cross picked out Afolabi whose first time shot struck the crossbar with Brush gathering the dropping ball.

Jonathan Afolabi of Bohemians celebrates

Lacklustre in the first half, Bohemians certainly had a little more purpose to them from the resumption, Sligo’s Greg Bolger, Garry Buckley and Hartmann all yellow carded inside eight minutes.

And their bright restart brought its reward with the lead goal on 55 minutes.

Brian McManus found the feet of Connolly who raced behind, took the ball round Brush to pull it back superbly for Afolabi to blast home off the underside of the crossbar.

Afolabi and Clarke had half chances before Bohemians doubled their lead on 73 minutes.

Connolly's pace again got him in behind following Bartlomiej Kukulowicz’s surging run down the right.

This time Coote was on the end of the pullback to rifle low to the net.

Afolabi got his second on 84 minutes, once more in the right place to drill home after substitute Jordan Flores had got to the end line to set him up.

Sligo’s consolation came from a Pedro Martelo retaken penalty three minutes into stoppage time.

Bohemians: James Talbot; Bartłomiej Kukulowicz, Krystian Nowak, Kacper Radkowski, Paddy Kirk; Keith Buckley, James McManus (Danny Grant 76); Dylan Connolly (Jordan Flores 76), James Clarke (Kris Twardek 83), Ali Coote (John O'Sullivan 83); Jonathan Afolabi.

Sligo Rovers: Richard Brush; Niall Morahan, Garry Buckley (John Mahon 74), Nando Pijanker, Reece Hutchinson; David Cawley (Stefan Radosavljevic 68), Greg Bolger (Kailin Barlow 53); Karl O’Sullivan, Robert Burton, Fabrice Hartmann (Johan Brannefalk 74); Pedro Martelo.

Referee: Kevin Sullivan (Cork).