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Watts up and running as Shamrock Rovers earn hard-fought win over Sligo

Dylan Watts scored his first goal for the Hoops en route to a 2-0 win at Tallaght Stadium.

Image: Tommy Dickson/INPHO

Shamrock Rovers 2

Sligo Rovers 0

Dave Donnelly reports from Tallaght Stadium

DYLAN WATTS SCORED his first Shamrock Rovers goal as the Hoops moved to within a point of third-placed Waterford with a hard-fought win over Sligo.

Gary Shaw added a second five minutes from time – his second in two games as his frustrating season finally gets going – and Alan Mannus held firm as Rovers kept a sixth straight clean sheet.

Rovers had to bide their time against a Sligo side content to sit in and trouble them on the counter, and when the goal did arrive it was in typically scrappy fashion.

Ronan Finn dribbled into the box and lifted in a cross in spite of the attention of Jack Keaney, and Mitchell Beeney could only get a faint touch on the ball.

Dan Carr should have finished into an empty net but he hit fresh air on the turn, but he managed to work it back to Watts, who made no mistake as he fired the loose ball low past Beeney.

Dylan Watts scores a goal Source: Tommy Dickson/INPHO

It was no less than the Hoops deserved as they upped the intensity following a somewhat lacklustre first 45 minutes.

Indeed, Sligo created the best chance of the opening half as a slick one-two between Lee-J Lynch and Jack Keaney set the teenage full-back haring down the right.

Keaney got his head up and picked out the arriving David Cawley with a low ball across the box, and the midfielder was desperately unlucky to see his shot hit the crossbar.

Watts had gone closest for the Hoops in the first half with a scorching low shot from the edge of the box that Beeney did brilliantly to palm around the post.

Stephen Bradley’s side came within a whisker of the lead within two minutes of the restart as Finn’s whipped cross just whistled past the heads of both Aaron Greene and Roberto Lopes.

John Mahon did brilliantly to block a seemingly goalbound effort from Finn on the hour mark, but as they began to sit ever-deeper the Hoops found the key to unlock the winning goal.

Seamus Sharkey was shown a second yellow card late on as he chopped down substitute Aaron Bolger, having been booked in the first half for a professional foul on Joel Coustrain.

Gary Shaw put the gloss on a great night for the Hoops as he turned home the rebound after Beeney had done well to save from Brandon Kavanagh.

SHAMROCK ROVERS: Mannus; Bone, Lopes, Grace, Gilchrist; G Bolger (A Bolger 80), Finn, Watts; Greene (Shaw 77), Coustrain, Carr (Kavanagh 70).

SLIGO ROVERS: Beeney; Keaney, Mahon, Sharkey, Donelon; Cawley, McCabe, Lynch; McAleer (Collins 77), Twardek (Kerrigan 65), Drennan (McClean 85).

Referee: Rob Rogers

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