Saturday, 6 April, 2013
2 - 0
SSE Airtricity League
Sligo Rovers kept their 100 percent record in this year's Airtricity League Premier Division intact with a 2-0 win over Shelbourne at the Showgrounds on Saturday evening. An Anthony Elding brace saw the champions reopen their five point lead at the top as Shels continue to search for their first win of the campaign.
Sligo Manager Ian Baraclough started with the same team that beat UCD on Monday and was without Joseph Ndo (hand) and Seamus Conneely (leg), while Danny North also missed out as he continues to recover from a cruciate ligament injury.
Shels travelled west without suspended centre half Ian Ryan and injured duo Glen Cronin and Ger Hanley. Graham Gartland returned from a three match ban to take his place in Alan Mathews' defence.
The home side came close to opening the scoring as early as the third minute as Elding got on the end of an Aaron Greene cross from the left, but Shels 'keeper Niall Burden did well to get down low and block the shot. The young net minder repeated the trick eight minutes later as he pushed away Greene's effort from inside the Shels six yard box after the former Shamrock Rovers winger latched on to the end of Ross Gaynor's cross to the front post.
Sligo's pressure told with a quarter of an hour played. Some quick counter-attacking play from a Shelbourne corner resulted in Raffaele Cretaro finding space on the Shels left. Beating his marker, the winger's square ball found Elding inside the Shels area and the striker netted his seventh league goal in as many games.
The Drumcondra side had their first sight at goal with 17 minutes played but Dean Kelly's shot from the edge of the area squeezed narrowly over Gary Rogers' crossbar as the striker went in search of the equaliser.
The pace of the game slowed somewhat until five minutes from the break. Greene attempted to play Elding through on goal but put too much weight behind his pass. The former Grimsby striker did well to keep the ball in play, although his shot from the wide angle was off target. Shels almost conjured up an equaliser in first half injury time but Rogers was at full stretch to tip Kelly's shot from 15 yards over his crossbar.
The Bit o' Red doubled their lead and Elding his tally on 59 minutes. Cretaro's initial shot from close range was parried away by Burden. The ball fell to Elding and although his first shot was scrambled off the line, the big striker bundled the ball into the net at the second attempt. The lead was almost stretched to three five minutes later when Gaynor's cross found Greene ten yards from goal but his powerful header sailed wide of the target.
Burden was called into action once again on 68 minutes as he acrobatically pushed away Gaynor's free kick from 25 yards, after Alan Keane was fouled by a Shels defender.
Rovers were comfortable for the remainder of the game and went close through substitute Ryan Connolly on 81 minutes, moments before Robert Cornwall almost turned the ball into his own net as Burden was forced into a reaction save.
Sligo Rovers: Gary Rogers; Alan Keane, Jeff Henderson, Evan McMillan, Ross Gaynor; Raffaele Cretaro, Lee Lynch, David Cawley, Kieran Djilali, Aaron Greene; Anthony Elding.
Subs: Ciaran Kelly, Pascal Millien (for Cretaro 80), Marty Owens, Danny Ventre (for Lynch HT), Ryan Connolly (for Djilali 59), Iarfhlaith Davoren, Gavin Peers.
Shelbourne: Niall Burden; Pat Flynn, Brian Shorthall, Graham Gartland, Jack Memery; Adam Hanlon, Robert Cornwall, Paul Crowley, Robert Bayly; Dean Kelly, Philip Hughes.
Subs: Craig Mooney (for Cornwall 89), Sean Brennan (for Hanlon 81), Mark Leech (for Hughes 67), Stephen Hurley, Alex Prizeman, Darren Tinnelly, Eoin Comerford.