Sligo Rovers' resurgent form continued on Friday night as they recorded a comprehensive 5-0 win over UCD in the SSE Airtricity League at the Showgrounds on Friday night. Goals from Alan Keane, Paul O'Conor, Aaron Greene, Daniel Ledwith and Eric Odhiambo secured the Bit o'Red's second league victory of the season.
The Students' cause wasn't helped by the fact that they were forced to play the majority of the game with ten men, following Tomas Boyle's 25th minute dismissal.
Sligo were without long term absentees Gavin Peers (knee) and Raffaele Cretaro (calf) and Seamus Conneely (groin).
Ian Baraclough made one change to the team which thumped St Patrick's Athletic 5-1 on Monday night. Jeff Henderson recovered from a hamstring injury in time to take his place at the heart of the Sligo defence at the expense of Kalen Spillane.
Meanwhile, Aaron Callaghan's UCD side travelled across the Shannon without centre half Hugh Douglas who served a suspension. Ayman Ben Mohamad (knee), Ian Ryan (foot) and Dean Clarke (back) all missed out with injury.
The former Bohs boss also made just the single change to the side that were soundly beaten by Dundalk last time out. James Kavanagh replacing the suspended Douglas.
The Bit o'Red were looking to record just their second league victory of the season, while UCD were attempting to stretch their lead over the Sligo side to five points.
Following a low key start, it was the away side who threatened first. Tomas Boyle's header from a cross from the left was well dealt with low down by Sligo goalkeeper Gary Rogers, with a quarter of an hour played.
Cillian Morrison did well to stay in possession of the ball inside the Sligo area, under close scrutiny from Henderson three minutes later. Morrison played the ball into the path of Gary Burke who could only sky his shot over Rogers' crossbar.
The in-form Greene sent a speculative effort from 20 yards wide of Conor O'Donnell's goal mouth on 25 minutes, seconds before Rovers grabbed the lead.
Greene was upended inside the Students' box by Boyle as he made his way toward goal. Referee Paul Tuite adjudged Boyle to have been the last man, awarded the penalty and dismissed the UCD centre half. Sligo captain Keane stood up and blasted the ball beyond O'Donnell for his second league goal of the season.
O'Conor doubled the lead eleven minutes later. Greene's over-cooked cross from the right was controlled by Ross Gaynor before the former Dundalk man found O'Conor at the edge of the area. Hitting it on the half-volley, O'Conor rifled the ball into O'Donnell's top corner for his first competitive goal for the FAI Cup holders.
Henderson squandered a wonderful opportunity to extend Rovers' lead on the stroke of half-time. Gaynor's ball from deep found the Newcastle native unmarked at the front post. Henderson failed to send the ball goalward as he nodded over the crossbar.
Ledwith tested O'Donnell five minutes into the second period. The UCD net minder doing well to block Ledwith's attempt at his front post. Half-time substitute John Russell saw his attempt from inside the area diverted away for a corner three minutes later, as Sligo looked to make the most of their numerical advantage.
Greene missed the target from six yards on 62 as Rovers piled on the pressure, Gaynor saw his shot from the angle hit O'Donnell's side netting four minutes later.
The pressure eventually told on 66 minutes as the home side grabbed their third. Djilali's cross from the right was expertly headed over the outstretched arms of O'Donnell by the impressive Greene as the ball looped into the net.
The 3,331 strong crowd had barely got their breath back following Greene's goal before Ledwith made it four. Greene's chip across the face of goal was met with the left foot of Ledwith who smashed the ball beyond O'Donnell with 22 minutes remaining.
Substitute Odhiambo made it five on 78 minutes. Djilali was fouled inside the UCD box as he made his way toward goal. O'Donnell did well to palm away Keane's penalty but he could do little about the ball falling to Odhiambo who slipped the ball under the goalkeeper for his first league goal for Sligo.
Djilali almost got Rovers' sixth with six remaining but he scuffed his shot from close ranged having been teed up by Keane.
Sligo Rovers: Gary Rogers; Alan Keane, Evan McMillan, Jeff Henderson, Ross Gaynor; Kieran Djilali, Joseph Ndo (for Danny North 67), David Cawley (for John Russell HT), Paul O'Conor, Danny Ledwith (for Eric Odhiambo 70); Aaron Greene.
Subs not used: Richard Brush, Jake Dykes, Kalen Spillane, Sean Maguire.
UCD: Conor O'Donnell; Gareth Matthews, Tomas Boyle, James Kavanagh, Mark Langtry (Thomas O'Halloran 75); Gary Burke (Michael Burke 28), Robbie Creevy, Samir Belhout, Robert Benson, Chris Mulhall; Cillian Morrison (Colm Crowe 75).
Subs not used: Mark McGinley, Barry McCabe, Dwayne Wilson, Michael Scott.
Sent off: Boyle 25.
Referee: Paul Tuite.