Sligo move top beating Bray at Showgrounds
Updated: Saturday, 16 Mar 2013 22:10
Sligo Rovers occupy top spot in the Airtricity League Premier Division following a 3-0 win over Bray Wanderers at the Showgrounds.
An Anthony Elding double along with a late strike from Sligo substitute Kieran Djilali handed the league champions the three points.
The win sees the champions return to the top of the table moving two points clear of Shamrock Rovers, Cork City and Dundalk.
Rovers boss Baraclough was without club captain Danny Ventre through suspension while Lee Lynch took the place of Joseph Ndo (hand). Danny North (knee) also missed out through injury.
Aaron Greene returned to the home bench following an ankle injury he picked up in the 5-0 win over Glentoran in the Setanta Sports Cup earlier this month.
Pat Devlin brought his Wanderers side west with a full quota of players bar defender Shane O'Connor who missed out due to a hamstring complaint. The Seagulls started with the same side that beat Shelbourne last week.
The league champions enjoyed the majority of the possession in the opening exchanges and Ross Gaynor almost drew first blood on nine minutes when he took one touch to turn David Webster inside the Bray area, but the Ardee man flashed his shot narrowly wide of Darren Quigely's goal.
Bray had their first sight at goal on 16 minutes when Daire Doyle found space on the Sligo right, but his tame shot was easily claimed by Rovers keeper Gary Rogers.
Sligo winger Raffaele Cretaro went close on 23 minutes as Quigley had to be alert to keep out his low drive. Alan Keane's shot from 20 yards sailed wide of the target a minute later.
The home side's pressure eventually told on 39 minutes when Anthony Elding headed home his second league goal of the season from a Lee Lynch cross to give Rovers the lead.
Bray almost levelled proceedings moments before the half-time whistle as Gary Dempsey's swerving free-kick at the edge of the area left Rogers flat footed, leaving the Sligo number one relieved to see the ball strike the top of his crossbar and away from danger.
Sligo went close to doubling their lead two minutes into the second half when Ryan Connolly's strike took a deflection off a Bray defender only to loop over the Quigley crossbar with the former Sporting Fingal man stranded.
Substitute Aaron Greene's cross on 69 minutes was met by the boot of Elding but the former Grimsby man failed to put enough power behind his shot to test Quigley.
Gary Rogers was called into action again on 71 minutes when Kieran ‘Marty’ Waters skipped past the challenge of two Sligo defenders only to see the Sligo keeper tip his shot around his near post.
The former St Pat's net-minder was in fine form and pulled off a magnificent save 12 minutes from full time when he got down low to his left to parry away a Gary Dempsey volley and repeated the trick seconds later as he kept out a Daire Doyle effort.
Rovers put the tie beyond doubt three minutes from time when Elding claimed his second of the game as he powered home his second of the evening from Gaynor’s cross from the left.
Gaynor doubled his assist tally for the evening five minutes into injury time when he supplied another pin-point cross, this time for substitute Djilali who side footed past Quigley from close range.
Sligo Rovers: Gary Rogers; Alan Keane, Gavin Peers, Evan McMillan, Ross Gaynor; Raffaele Cretaro, David Cawley, Lee Lynch, Seamus Conneely, Ryan Connolly; Anthony Elding.
Subs: Ciaran Kelly, Liam Martin, Kieran Djilali (for Cretaro 60), Aaron Greene (for Connolly 67), Jeff Henderson (for Peers 89), Pascal Millien, Marty Owens.
Bray Wanderers: Darren Quigley; Eoin Hyland, Danny O' Connor, David Webster, Kevin Knight; Daire Doyle, Kevin O' Connor, Gary Dempsey, Dean Zambra, Kieran Marty Waters; Jason Byrne
Subs: Ismahil Akinade (for Byrne 72), Conor Early, John Mulroy (for K O' Connor 72), Shane O' Neill (for Doyle 80), Paul Malone, Peter Thomas, Sean Holmes.