Sloggett Stunner Seals Narrow Victory
Dundalk returned to winning ways in Filippo Giovagnoli’s first home match in charge with a 3-2 victory over Shelbourne.
Michael Duffy and Brian Gartland gave the Lilywhites a 2-0 lead however goals from Dan Byrne and Georgie Poynton levelled things at half-time. Greg Sloggett’s thunderbolt on the hour mark saw the champions record their first league win in five attempts.
Dundalk were on the front foot from the first minute and almost scored inside 90 seconds when early pressing meant the ball fell to Chris Shields on the edge of the area but he blasted over.
It would be 1-0 though moments later when Michael Duffy took the ball from the left wing and danced past three defenders before unleashing what can only be described as a thundering strike which went into the top corner leaving Colin McCabe no chance in goal.
A stunning strike to open the scoring.
Dundalk pushed for a second and made it 2-0 after just 11 minutes when Stefan Colovic’s corner was perfect and it found the head of Brian Gartland and the ball ended up in the same corner past the reach of McCabe.
The Lilywhites were in control but almost gave one up when Denzil Fernandes put a good ball in the box however Dayle Rooney couldn’t direct his header on target after he got between Andy Boyle and Gartland.
That set in motion a manic few minutes.
They would get their goal just before the 20 minute mark when Georgie Poynton’s free-kick from the left was guided home by Dan Byrne to pull one back for Shels.
Moment after that it would be 2-2. Gartland was adjudged by Paul McLaughlin to have held Ciaran Kilduff at a corner and a penalty was awarded despite protests.
Poynton stepped up and sent Aaron McCarey the wrong way to level things up midway through the first period.
Dundalk did respond well with the setback and Darragh Leahy got in behind with McCabe to beat but the goalkeeper saved well to retain parity.
Sean Murray then capitalised on a lapse at the back however his shot was never threatening the goal.
Ryan Brennan had the final effort of the half when he teed himself up from distance but it was never threatening the goal.
Dundalk started the second half on the front foot once more and almost retook the lead however Duffy was on the stretch and couldn’t convert Colovic’s cross from the right.
Sean Murray won a free-kick, which Duffy took also, however he fired well over the bar.
It was to be 3-2 though and deservedly so around the hour mark.
Greg Sloggett did brilliantly to dispossess Sean Quinn 25 yards out from goal and he didn’t waste any time. He fired brilliantly to the top corner to give us the lead once more.
The game started to open up at this point with Daniel Kelly spurning a wonderful opportunity to make it 4-2 however his header from Duffy’s cross went wide.
At the other end, Karl Sheppard had a gilt edged chance to level things at 3-3 with a free header also however he couldn’t find the target either.
A scramble ensued with the next attack as Leahy made a last ditch effort to allow us to remain in the lead and some good link up play between Duffy and McMillan saw the Derry native get a shot off however it was deflected into the arms of the goalkeeper.
Shields broke forward brilliantly and powered to the edge of the area where he tried his luck however it was inches wide of the left post with the goalkeeper beaten.
There was another opportunity to make it 4-2 as there was some clever link up between Nathan Oduwa and Daniel Kelly who crossed for Sean Gannon however he got nothing on the ball and it was easily saved by McCabe.
That proved to be the final action of note as Dundalk managed to see out the win thanks to two stunning strikes and a header.
DUNDALK: Aaron McCarey; Sean Hoare, Brian Gartland, Andy Boyle, Darragh Leahy; Chris Shields (capt), Greg Sloggett; Stefan Colovic (Daniel Kelly 60), Sean Murray (John Mountney 82), Michael Duffy (Sean Gannon 82); David McMillan (Nathan Oduwa 75).
Substitutes not used: Gary Rogers (GK), Josh Gatt, Will Patching.
Booked: Gartland (23)
Sent off: None.
SHELBOURNE: Colin McCabe; Georgie Poynton, Dan Byrne, Luke Byrne, Sean Quinn; Ryan Brennan (Mark Byrne 64), Gary Deegan (capt) (Oscar Brennan 87); Denzil Fernandes (Karl Sheppard 64), Dayle Rooney (Jaze Kabia 76), Alex O’Hanlon; Ciaran Kilduff (Aaron Dobbs 87)
Substitutes not used: Jack Brady (GK), Daniel O’Reilly.
Booked: Byrne (88)
Sent off: None.
Referee: Paul McLaughlin