Match stats: Rovers v Limerick
Sligo Rovers returned to winning ways with a 1-0 victory over Cork City at the weekend. It made it back-to-back Showgrounds wins for the first time since May.
Three in-a-row was last won in April against Shelbourne, Cork City and Drogheda United.
It was the second time this year that Rovers have kept three clean sheets in a row at home. Keeping a fourth would be a first since June and July 2011 when they were kept against UCD, Shamrock Rovers, Drogheda United and St. Patrick’s Athletic.
The clean sheet took keeper Gary Rogers to 19 for the season equalling his career best and meaning that one more would bring him to a best of 20.
The Bit o’ Red have the second best home record in the league only behind leaders St. Pat’s. The Sainys have three more points earned but from playing one more game. They have also only scored one more goal to lead the league with 23 to Rovers 22.
The champions are now unbeaten in the last 20 home games played on a Saturday going back over two years to a defeat to Bohemians on August 13th 2011. From those games there have been 14 wins and 6 draws.
Rovers have gone on to win the last 16 home games when scoring first.
The last time we failed to do so was when being knocked out of the FAI Cup 3-1 by Monaghan United last year.
It’s over three years since Rovers were beaten by a newly promoted club which was Sporting Fingal when they won 1-0 in the Showgrounds in May 2010.
Just once in the last 35 home league games in a time span stretching over four years have a team from outside Dublin beaten the Bit o’Red in the Showgrounds. That was Dundalk’s 1-0 win earlier this season.
David Cawley can make the 50th league appearance of his career against Limerick. The Ballina man has scored seven goals in those games since making his debut against UCD in the Showgrounds in March 2012.
Those seven goals have come against just three clubs with three against Derry City and two against both Shamrock Rovers and UCD. 39 of his 49 appearances have been as starts though his last 25 have all been from the beginning. He has missed just one game in the league this year which was against Shamrock Rovers putting him just behind Gary Rogers who has played every minute this season and Alan Keane who has started all 24 games.
Last six results:
27/7/12 LOI Sligo Rovers 0-0 Shamrock Rovers
2/8/13 LOI Derry City 1-2 Sligo Rovers (David Cawley, Danny North)
10/8/13 LOI Sligo Rovers 2-0 Bray Wanderers (Raf Cretaro, Kieran Djilali)
13/8/13 EA Shamrock Rovers 3-2 Sligo Rovers (Kieran Djilali, Anthony Elding)
16/8/13 LOI Dundalk 2-0 Sligo Rovers
24/8/13 FAI Sligo Rovers 1-0 Cork City (Gavin Peers)
Head to head:
Rovers are currently seven games unbeaten against Limerick since losing 1-0 away in November 2004. It’s their only win over the Bit o’Red in 11 meetings.
Its 11 games since Limerick last won a league game in theShowgrounds with that win coming on their last visit to Sligo in the top division on 1/4/91 with a 1-0 win.
Limerick lead the overall head-to-head between the sides with 44 wins to Rovers 41 from the 107 league games between the sides.
Rovers have won more of the games played in The Showgrounds with 23 to 16 and 15 draws.
Last six meetings:
17/6/05 LOI Limerick 1-2 Sligo Rovers (Paul McTiernan, Steve Feeney)
13/8/05 LOI Sligo Rovers 1-1 Limerick (Paul McTiernan)
21/10/05 LOI Limerick 1-1 Sligo Rovers (Michael McNamara)
23/3/13 LOI Sligo Rovers 2-1 Limerick (Anthony Elding, Jeff Henderson)
24/5/13 LOI Limerick 0-0 Sligo Rovers
1/7/13 EA Limerick 0-4 Sligo Rovers (Jeff Henderson, Gavin Peers, Danny North, Evan McMillan)
So far this year:
The two sides have met three times already this season, twice in the league and once in the EA Sports Cup. So far Rovers have had the better of things with two wins and a draw.
The first meeting, and the only one to take place in theShowgrounds, was the first meeting between the teams in eight years when both were First Division clubs. It was the first in the Premier Division in 20 years.
It gave Rovers a first win over Limerick in the Premier Division since winning 1-0 in Limerick in February 1987 with a goal from Tony O’Kelly. That season also had Rovers last home win over Limerick in this division with Mick Savage and Jim Mitchell scoring in the 2-1 victory.
Anthony Elding equalised for Rovers after Craig Curran's goal, getting the sixth of his 15 goals this season making him the Bit o’ Red’s leading goalscorer.
The winning goal in the game was scored by Jeff Henderson with his first for the club. He also scored against them in the EA Sports Cup tie which means his only two goals for the club have come against Limerick from just three appearances against them.
Limerick had scored first in that game and Rovers comeback made it the first time to win a game after being behind since June 2012 in a 2-1 win over Dundalk 24 games previously. It was the first time Rovers did so at home since an FAI Cup tie against Limerick Junior club Pike Rovers in June 2011. In league games alone it was a first since coming from one down to beat Bray 2-1 in October 2010. It has happened once subsequently this year when beating UCD 5-2 after conceding early to a goal from current Rovers forward David McMillan
The next meeting was Rovers first ever game in Thomond Park in May 2013. It was the second of four 0-0 draws Rovers have had in the league this season. It’s the second most to Shamrock Rovers total of six with Limerick third on the list having had three. Each of the last four seasons has seen the Bit o’Red have four scoreless draws.
It was the second on a run of five away clean sheets for Rovers which finished with another in the 4-0 EA Sports Cup win, none being kept in the five games since.
The draw seen Rovers drop from the top position in the league table having occupied it for all but two of the 13 weeks before. It has not been regained since.
Rovers return to Limerick for the EA Sports Cup tie seen the biggest away win recorded under Ian Baraclough to date and the best since winning an FAI Cup replay 4-0 in August 2011 against Monaghan United. The last bigger away win was the massive 8-0 victory over Galway United the previous month.
The win was the last in a run of three consecutively and preceded a run of five winless games as Rovers bowed out of Europe. In the 10 games since Rovers haven’t scored more than two goals in any game.
The third goal scored that night was the first for Danny North in a year and two days since scoring against Dundalk before being hit by serious injury.
Limerick are on their worst run of the season having lost five out of their last six games and the last three.
The last time they lost four in a row was in July 2006 in the First Division. That run seen losses to Dundalk (3-1), AthloneTown (2-1), Kildare County (2-1) and Galway United (1-0). June and July of 2009 was the last time they had lost three consecutively which started against St. Pat’s in the FAI Cup (1-0) then Shelbourne and Monaghan United in the league by the same score.
Their form away from home is the same as overall having lost three in a row and five out of six. The only game which didn’t end in defeat was a 1-0 in Dalymount Park against Bohs in early July.
Their run has seen 11 goals conceded in the last three games including five last time out in the FAI Cup game at Dundalk. The clean sheet in the win against Bohs is their only from the last 12 games played. Only UCD and Bray Wanderers have conceded more goals away from home.
Belgian Axel Bossekota’s six goals for Limerick have all come away from home in just ten games played. Overall top scorer is Englishman Craig Curran with seven league goals. His first for the club came against Rovers in the Showgrounds but his other six have all been at Thomond Park.
Last six results:
19/7/13 LOI Shelbourne 2-1 Limerick (Axel Bossekota)
28/7/13 LOI Limerick 0-1 Derry City
2/8/13 LOI Limerick 2-1 Cork City (Craig Curran, Shaun Kelly)
9/8/13 LOI Drogheda Utd 3-0 Limerick
16/8/13 LOI Limerick 1-3 UCD (Craig Curran (pen))
23/8/13 FAI Dundalk 5-3 Limerick (Axel Bossekota, Rory Gaffney x2)