Sligo Rovers had a big 5-1 victory over Drogheda United at the Showgrounds today to take them to three wins on the bounce.
Rovers followed up wins over Finn Harps and Letterkenny Rovers to cement their place in sixth position in the Elite Northen Division.
Liam Flatley scored the first and last goals of the game and could have had more with the Mayo forward at the heart of a lot of Rovers good play. The other goals came from Martin Walsh, Mark Hannon and Ryan McCarrick all in the second half.
The game had a quiet opening until ten minutes in when Liam Flatley’s industry won the ball from the Drogheda defence. He crossed the ball low with Mark Hannon running onto the ball but the goal gaping he managed to lift the ball over the bar.
On 18 minutes striker Cathal Carney took on an early shot at goal from distance but it went wide at the near post.
Three minutes later Hannon played it into the feet of Hannon, he brought it under control and shot after turning but found the side-netting.
Just after on 23 minutes a similar move resulted in the Bit o’Red taking the lead. A quick turn by flatly was followed by a tremendous shot which flew into the top of the net for his fifth of the season.
Drogheda’s first real chance of the second half came straight after with a quick attack but two successive stops by Jack Burke kept them at bay.
On 31 minutes Hannon, who was proving very effective on the left, found Flatley again just outside the box. He allowed the ball run to his right side but this time his effort went too high and ended in a goal kick.
Another ball from the left by Hannon on 38, this time whipped into the near post, had Carney looking to get on the end of it but the defence did enough to stop him getting a sight at goal.
Carney did go close in first half added time when he managed to free himself in the box to shoot but a deflection on it put the ball behind for a corner.
The first action of the second half came on 51 minutes and saw Rovers get a second goal. Full-back Fintan Borotto curled in a cross from the left side which Martin Walsh headed in looping over the head of the Drogheda keeper.
Another 10 minutes went by without much action til Rovers made it 3-0. Flatley worked the ball out to the left to Hannon in space and with a first-time side-footed effort he slotted the ball in off the near post for a well-deserved goal.
Hannon almost provided Flatley with another goal two minutes afterwards as he produced across from near the corner flag which Flatley headed at goal but without enough conviction to get it past the keeper.
Flatley again showed some sublime skill on 66 minutes when he controlled a pass from the back by Ross Taheny with one touch but the attempt he produced was right down the keeper’s throat.
The next goal came on 73 minutes. Hard work but Flatley got him a few yards of space on the left side of the box, he rolled the ball across the face of goal and Ryan McCarrick, on as a sub, got a toe on it to put the ball home.
McCarrick almost had a second three minutes after when Rovers countered to send him bearing down on goals, the left leg of the Drogheda keeper kept his effort out and he also saved when Liam Flatley volleyed the rebound towards goal.
Hannon and Borotto combined impressively on the left win on 80 minutes. Hannon fed the run of Borotto down the flank and the full-back pulled it back to Hannon who had made his way into the box. But despite a good connection he wasn’t able to put it past the keeper.
With 83 minutes played Rovers fifth and final goal was scored by Flatley. He picked the ball up outside the box and made his way forward past a defender before drilling low into the bottom corner for his second of the afternoon.
Drogheda got a consolation late on after having already being reduced to 10 men. A low ball from the right gave an easy opportunity for a tap-in to get them a goal.
Just into stoppage time Flatley was unfortunate to not get his hat-trick when he hit the ball on the half-volley just inside the visitor’s box but seen it end just over.
The final whistle came just after to continue the rich vein of form being shown by the season. Just three games remain in the season with a visit to St. Pat’s next weekend.
Team: Burke, O'Donoghue (Harrigan 50), Connolly, Taheny, Borotto (Doherty 82), Kennoy (Anderson 82), Hannon, Kilcawley (McCallion 79), Walsh, Carney (McCarrick 67), Flatley.