James Crombie/INPHO John Russell was on target for Sligo (file pic).
# Underdogs
10-man Sligo stun Shamrock Rovers to pick up first league win in almost two months
John Russell’s fourth-minute goal was enough to seal a crucial three points.

Sligo 1

Shamrock Rovers 0

Jessica Farry reports from the Showgrounds

10-MAN SLIGO Rovers moved up to eighth place in the table courtesy of an outstanding 1-0 win over Shamrock Rovers at the Showgrounds.

John Russell’s fourth-minute goal was enough to seal a crucial three points for relegation-threatened Sligo.

The hosts had not won a league game in almost two months — the 3-0 triumph over Limerick on 6 May was the last time they secured three points.

With only three victories all season, Gerard Lyttle’s side knew they would have to take something from this game to gain some breathing space in the battle to avoid the drop.

And the hosts got off to the perfect start. With just four minutes on the clock, Kieran Sadlier’s cross from the left found the unmarked Russell, who headed into the net past Tomer Chencinski in the Hoops goal.

The westerners really should have made it 2-0 just before the break. Raffaele Cretaro’s ball from the right just needed the slightest touch from Daniel Kearns, but he narrowly failed to connect with his head.

Stephen Bradley’s men did have their chances in the first half, but Brandon Miele and Ronan Finn didn’t trouble Micheál Schlingermann in the Sligo goal.

Gerard Lyttle’s side were looking a tad sluggish following the re-start, and the defence of their 1-0 lead became a lot tougher when they were reduced to 10 men.

John Russell was one of three Sligo players to be booked in the first half, and referee Neil Doyle gave the Galway man his second yellow of the evening on 58 minutes for a challenge on Simon Madden. The infringement resulted in the match-winner’s second red card of the season against the Tallaght side.

The Dubliners subsequently enjoyed a nice spell of possession, during which former Sligo player Ryan Connolly forced a save from Schlingermann, before Michael O’Connor failed to beat the Mayo man by a matter of inches.

Finn then hit the side netting in the dying minutes, as the Hoops looked to be running out of ideas.

The visitors thought they had done enough to earn a draw late on, but a goal-line clearance by Michael Leahy prevented Roberto Lopes from earning his side a point.

Despite being under severe pressure, the Bit o’ Red prevailed through grit and determination, and go three points clear of the drop zone thanks to this evening’s win.

Sligo Rovers: Micheal Schlingermann, Tobi Adebayo-Rowling, Michael Leahy, Seamus Sharkey, Regan Donelon, Jonah Ayunga (Mikey Place, 73), Gary Boylan, John Russell, Daniel Kearns (Chris Kenny, 65), Kieran Sadlier, Raffaele Cretaro (Liam Martin, 82).

Shamrock Rovers: Tomer Chencinski, Simon Madden, David Webster, Roberto Lopes, Luke Byrne (Sean Boyd, 76), Brandon Miele, Sam Bone (Michael O’Connor, 65), Ronan Finn, Ryan Connolly, Trevor Clarke (James Doona, 56), Gary Shaw.

Referee: Neil Doyle

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