Sligo Rovers 4-1 Wexford Youths
Sligo Rovers moved to seventh position in the SSE Airtricity League Premier Division table as they recorded an emphatic 4-1 win over Wexford Youths at the Showgrounds.
Raffaele Cretaro, Jordan Richards and Liam Martin struck to send Rovers into a 3-0 half time lead. Wexford made the most of a defensive mishap early in the second half to reduce the deficit. The Bit O'Red however displayed their superiority and restored their three goal lead late on courtesy of Jaanai Gordon's first goal for the club.
Rovers were going in search of their third win on the bounce and had an early chance through striker Martin who flashed his effort across the front of Graham Doyle's goal. The Donegal man tested the resolve of Doyle once more seven minutes later although his drive from 20 yards was comfortable for the Youths captain to claim.
Shane Keegan's side were looking to close the four point gap between themselves and their opponents. They were offered an early chance to seize a surprise lead on 13 but Danny Furlong was denied by a superb reaction save from Micheál Schlingermann.
Cretaro has been instrumental in Rovers' revival in recent weeks. And it was the veteran striker who sent the Bit O'Red on their way with 23 minutes played. Richards did well to control a ball lofted forward from defence before playing Cretaro through with a neat pass. Doyle did get a touch to Cretaro's drive from eight yards but was unable to stop the Sligo man from netting his third goal in as many games.
The First Division champion did threatened on occasion throughout the opening half but failed to capitalise. Chris Kenny could only head Paul Murphy's corner straight at Schlingermann on 27, six minutes before Richards doubled Sligo's lead.
Doing well to stay on his feet, the Notts County loanee jinxed by the challenge of Gary Delaney before skilfully skipping past both Danny Ledwith and John Bonnar. The 18-year-old was left with just Doyle to beat as he hammered the ball beyond the Youths net-minder, much to the frustration of the goalkeeper who was unable to move in time to get his body behind the ball.
Two became three two minutes from the break. The busy Martin sprung the offside trap as he ran on to a superb through ball from midfield courtesy of Jimmy Keohane. The lively attacker expertly twisting the ball around Doyle with the inside of his left foot from close range.
The hard working away side were offered a way back into the game five minutes into the second period. Schlingermann was caught in no man's land as he came to meet Kenny's long ball from the half-way line. With no evident danger to the Sligo goal, the ball instead fell to Tobi Adebayo-Rowling's whose clearance only found Furlong at the edge of the area. The striker placing the ball between the back-peddling Schlingermann and the post.
Sligo were offered a series of opportunities to restore their three goal lead. Substitute Jaanai Gordon skied from close range on the hour following good work from John Russell. While the same two players combined moments later to tee up Cretaro at the back post. Doyle however, produced a fine one handed save on the line to rebuff the 34-year-old.
Gordon passed up the best chance of the three on 69 when Delaney miss-fired in attempting to clear Regan Donelon's cross from the left side. The substitute only able to find the side netting from two yards.
Doyle kept out both Cretaro and Russell with fine stops on 70 and 72 respectively as Dave Robertson's charges continued to press for a fourth. The Wexford number one did well to deflect with his left foot, Cretaro's shot from the edge of the Wexford box as the ball ricocheted back off the inside of the post on 76.
Indeed, the Leinster side had their goalkeeper to thank once again on 84 as Doyle again got down to push away another Gordon effort.
But the West Ham loanee was not be refused his first goal for Rovers five minutes from time. Gordon holding his ground to nod Cretaro's floated cross past Doyle.
Sligo Rovers: Micheál Schlingermann; Tobi Adebayo-Rowling, Gary Boylan, Michael Leahy, Regan Donelon; Jimmy Keohane, Craig Roddan, John Russell (Phil Roberts 87), Jordan Richards (Jaanai Gordon 45), Liam Martin; Raffaele Cretaro (Kieran Sadlier 90).
Wexford Youths: Graham Doyle; Craig McCabe, Gary Delaney, Stephen Last, Danny Ledwith; Eric Molloy, Chris Kenny (Shane Dunne 82), John Bonnor, Andy Mulligan; Paul Murphy; Danny Furlong.
Referee: Anthony Buttimer.