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Sligo Rovers 5-2 UCD

Updated: Saturday, 15 Jun 2013 22:21 | Comments

David Cawley equalised for the home side
David Cawley equalised for the home side

Sligo Rovers moved into third spot in the Airtricity League Premier Division with an entertaining 5-2 win over UCD at the Showgrounds on Saturday evening.

UCD captured an early lead courtesy of David McMillan before Sligo equalised midway through the opening half through David Cawley.

Rovers the opened up a two goal advantage as Aaron Greene and Kieran Djilali both found the net.

Liam Traynor's own goal extended the gap to three, before UCD replied with a Dean Clarke strike. But Joseph Ndo netted his first goal of the season on 72 minutes to hand Sligo a 5-2 victory.

Sligo boss Ian Baraclough was without midfielders Raffaele Cretaro and Lee Lynch, who both picked up hamstring injuries in recent weeks. Centre half Evan McMillan continues to recover from surgery on his knee, while club captain Danny Ventre sat out with a leg complaint. The Bit o'Red started the game with the same team that drew with Bohemians last weekend.

The Students made the journey west without Mick Leahy and Tomas Boyle who were both absent with injury.

Manager Martin Russell made five changes from last week's thrilling 5-4 defeat to Bray Wanderers. Conor O'Donnell, Gareth Matthews, Sean Russell, Craig Walsh and Robbie Benson took their places in the Students' starting eleven in place of Mark McGinley, Liam Traynor, James Kavanagh, Barry McCabe and Cillian Morrison.

Sligo have struggled to find the net in recent times, failing to score in their last four league outings and they gifted their opponents an early lead with just two minutes played. Centre half Jeff Henderson failed to control a back pass from Cawley and UCD striker McMillan stole in to neatly finish beyond Gary Rogers.

Liam Martin dragged his shot from the edge of the area wide on seven minutes before McMillan flashed his low drive from a similar position wide of Rogers' post eight minutes later. UCD goalkeeper Conor O'Donnell did well to palm away an Iarfhlaith Davoren strike from close range on 14 minutes after Aaron Greene found the full back with a well timed through ball.

A clearly anxious Sligo should have been level on 19 minutes when Greene's initial shot from inside the area was blocked down by O'Donnell. The ball fell to the feet of Alan Keane who blazed over from eight yards with an open goal at his mercy.

Cawley and Greene both turned down half chances on 22 and 26 minutes respectively before Sligo's pressure told. A well worked free kick from Joseph Ndo and Greene on 27 minutes resulted in the latter finding Cawley ten yards from goal.

The Mayo man made no mistake this time as he blasted the ball past the helpless O'Donnell to notch up Sligo's first goal in almost seven hours of league football.

Greene went close to heading the Showgrounds side in front on 29 minutes before an Ndo free kick almost caught O'Donnell out at his front post six minutes later as Sligo searched for a lead.

UCD conjured up another opportunity with five minutes of the opening half remaining, as McMillan headed over from a Sean Russell cross as the visitors threatened. Hugh Douglas did well to block down Greene's side footed volley from close range a minute into injury time.

As with the opening half, the second period was only two minutes old when it produced its first goal. Finding plenty of space 20 yards from goal, Greene did well to control the ball and release an unstoppable drive low into the bottom of O'Donnell's net to claim his fifth goal of 2013.

The former Shamrock Rovers winger almost doubled his tally moments later as Cawley placed the ball into his path, but O'Donnell denied the 23-year-old on this occasion as he spread himself well to block down the shot.

The reigning league champions extended their lead on 59 minutes to herald a hectic period of goal scoring.

Ndo did well to create space for himself in front of a line of UCD defenders, before he found Cawley out wide. The young midfielder's cross was turned into his own goal by the unfortunate Liam Traynor as he attempted to shepherd the ball to safety.

Sligo repeated the trick a minute later. Kieran Djilali waited for Conneely's low cross to reach him before taking a touch away from his marker and placed the ball into the corner of the goal to make it 4-1.

The goal mouth action didn't finish here however as the Students made it 4-2 on 64 minutes courtesy of substitute Dean Clarke who found ample space behind the Rovers rearguard to finish past Rogers.

It didn't take long for the seventh goal of the game to appear as Sligo moved into a 5-2 lead. Keane's cross from the right was met by Cawley, whose shot looked as if it was drifting wide before Ndo raced in at the back post to tap home at the back post with 18 minutes remaining.

The Bit o'Red now sit in third spot in the Airtricity League Premier Division, having leapfrogged Dundalk and now trail leaders St Patrick's Athletic by four points with a game in hand. Martin Russell's side remain second from bottom, level on 14 points with relegation rivals Bohemians and five point off basement side Shelbourne.


Sligo Rovers: Gary Rogers; Alan Keane, Gavin Peers, Jeff Henderson, Iarfhlaith Davoren; Kieran Djilali, Seamus Conneely, David Cawley (for Ryan Connolly 77), Joseph Ndo, Liam Martin (for Ross Gaynor 73); Aaron Greene (for Danny North 61).

Subs not used: Ciaran Kelly, Marty Owens, Pascal Millien, Jake Dykes.

UCD: Conor O'Donnell; Garreth Matthews (for Liam Traynor 38), Sean Russell, Hugh Douglas, David O'Connor; Gary Burke (for Dean Clarke 61), Craig Walsh, Robbie Creevy, Thomas O'Halloran (for Daniel Corcoran 61); David McMillan, Robbie Benson.

Subs not used: Gerard Barron, Sean Coyne, Barry McCabe, Cillian Morrison.

Referee: Padraig Sutton

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