Match stats: Drogheda v Rovers
Sligo Rovers bounced back from defeat in the previous Airtricity Premier Division game against Dundalk with a win over Limerick.
It was the first time Rovers have done so this season with the previous three losses all being followed by draws.
Bar winning on the first game of the season this year, having lost the final game of the previous season, it is the first time Rovers have done so since beating Bohs 3-0 in October 2011 having lost to St. Patrick’s Athletic the game before.
Having beaten Cork and Limerick successively, Rovers will be aiming to record three wins on the spin for the second time this year since the 10 game winning run that began the season. The other time was in June and July with victories over UCD, Shelbourne and Limerick.
A clean sheet against Drogheda would make it back-to-back shutouts for the first time in the league since May when drawing games 0-0 against Bray and Limerick.
It would also make it three in all competitions which last happened in May when four were kept against Derry City, Bray Wanderers, Mervue Utd and Limerick.
Half of Rovers away games this season have been won which is six from 12, one more will better last season’s total.
The Bit o’ Red are just one point away from reaching 50 for the season something only done four times in the top division since the three points for a win system was introduced in 1993.
It is 22 games since Rovers lost a game in which Raffaele Cretaro scored which was almost four years ago in a 2-1 home defeat to Shamrock Rovers.
Danny North can make his 100th appearance since moving to Ireland. He had 64 while with St. Pats and has made 35 for Rovers from which he has 20 goals.
He has a career total of 45 goals in this country. Rovers have never lost a game in which he has scored winning 12 and drawing two. His goal against Limerick means he has now scored league goals against nine of the 11 other teams since joining Rovers with St. Pats and Bohs the only exceptions.
Gary Rogers kept his 20th clean sheet of the season against Limerick. It passed his previous career best of 19 from the 2011 season with St. Pats. Its eight more than he had last season having now played the same number of games with 35.
He has total of 116 clean sheets from 331 games in the Premier division. He is currently tied with Brendan Clarke of St. Pats for the most clean sheets in the league this season with 14 each. Rovers have conceded 0.68 goals per game in the league this year an improvement on last year’s 0.77.
The champions last three Airtricity League games have had the result 2-0, two have been in Rovers favour and one against.
Last six results:
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)
31/8/13 LOI Sligo Rovers 2-0 Limerick (Raf Cretaro, Danny North)
Having ended a run of nine consecutive defeats to Rovers and going 17 games without a win Drogheda beat Rovers in Hunky Dorys Park 2-1 in August last year to start a run of three successive wins and have now lost just one from five.
Rovers last three visits to Drogheda have ended in defeat (2-1 in August 2012 in the EA Sports Cup, 2-1 in October 2012 in the Airtricity League and 2-0 in April 2013 in the Setanta Sports Cup).
The only ground in the league where Rovers have gone longer without a win is Richmond Park the home of St. Patrick’s Athletic.
There hasn’t been a draw in the last seven games between the teams in Hunky Droys Park which follows a run where there was four draws in a row.
Seamus Conneely’s first goal for the club came in the 4-1 league win over Drogheda last season, he has scored one further goal for the club since.
Over the last six games only league leaders Dundalk have picked up more points than Drogheda’s total of 12 with the Bit o’Red one further behind on 11.
Rovers have failed to score seven times in the league this season which is one more than Drogheda’s total of six.
The last ten goals scored by the Bit o’Red against United have been by different players while Drogheda’s last nine have.
Last six meetings:
4/8/12 LOI Sligo Rovers 4-1 Drogheda Utd (Mark Quigley, Seamus Conneely, Romuald Boco, Joseph Ndo)
6/8/12 EA Drogheda Utd 2-1 Sligo Rovers (Lee Lynch)
19/10/12 LOI Drogheda Utd 2-1 Sligo Rovers (Liam Buchanan)
16/4/13 SSC Drogheda Utd 2-0 Sligo Rovers
22/4/13 SSC Sligo Rovers 1-0 Drogheda Utd (David Cawley)
27/4/13 LOI Sligo Rovers 2-2 Drogheda Utd (Anthony Elding, Aaron Greene)
So far this year:
The teams have faced each other three times so far in 2013 with the head-to-head spilt and one win each and a draw. The only meeting so far in the league ended as a draw with the wins for each coming in the two-legged Setanta Cup semi-final.
United’s win against Rovers in the Setanta Cup ended Rovers perfect 10 game start to the season. Their draw a few weeks later put a stop to Rovers six game winning streak in the Showgrounds to start the campaign. That’s after ending Rovers 18 game unbeaten run just after securing the league title in 2012.
Drogheda’s 2-0 Setanta Cup win was Rovers heaviest away defeat to another LOI club since losing by the same score away to Bohs in July 2010. Rovers have since lost by two goals away from home three times to other LOI teams first to St. Pat’s the following week 2-0, then 3-1 away to Cork and then 2-0 again in the last away game in Dundalk.
It was Drogs' biggest win over Rovers since a 3-0 win in United Park in April 2007.
Also it was the first time in nine that the Bit o’Red had failed to score in Drogheda and in 16 games overall.
In the second leg the following week the Bit o’Red win 1-0 with a David Cawley but it wasn’t enough to avoid elimination from the competition at the semi-final stage for the fourth successive year. It did end Drogheda’s three game winning run against Rovers which was their best since winning four in a row starting with the final meeting between the clubs in 2006 before winning all three in their league-winning 2007 season.
That is only one of two times Drogheda completed a clean sweep of league wins over Rovers in a season, the other being in 1975/76. Sligo Rovers won all four meeting in 2011 to whitewash Drogheda for the first time since 1973/74 with Rovers holding a total of six clean sweeps over the Louth club.
The sides met again the next weekend with the 2-2 draw ending Rovers run of 12 home wins in 13 games, the only exception had been after Rovers had won the league at the end of 2012. That makes them the only team along with UCD to have scored more than one goal in a game at the Showgrounds this year.
It was the first time Rovers dropped points from a winning position at home since Pat’s pegged back a one goal deficit exactly a year previously. It has not happened again since.
Opposition: Drogheda United
Drogheda are on a seven game unbeaten run in the league which is the second best in the league to their neighbours Dundalk who are at eight. That run followed a five game losing spell directly before.
In all competition they are undefeated in eight since the 2-0 defeat away to Malmo in the Europa League. That loss is their only one in the last 12.
They have also won their last five games in a row, three have been in the league and two in cup competition. It’s their best run since winning eight in a row between May and July last year a run which was ended by a 4-1 defeat to Rovers in the Showgrounds.
Following a run of not scoring in four of six games they have now scored at least two goals in their last five.
They have also managed seven clean sheets from their last 12 matches. That included keeping clean sheets in their last five home games consecutively since losing 3-0 to Shamrock Rovers on June 28th.
Despite sitting seventh in the table only the bottom three sides (Bohs, Shelbourne and Bray) have won fewer games. Their total of 11 draws is only less than Shamrock Rovers. Its more than they had on the previous two seasons combined.
Their top scorer is Declan O’Brien who has 12 goals despite only starting 14 times. Only Rovers David McMillan and Rory Patterson of Derry City have more.
Last six results:
2/8/13 LOI St. Patrick’s Athletic 0-0 Drogheda Utd
5/8/13 EA Derry City 1-3 Drogheda Utd (Declan O’Brien x2, David Cassidy)
9/8/13 LOI Drogheda Utd 3-0 Limerick (Declan O’Brien, Gavin Brennan, Ryan Brennen (pen))
16/8/13 LOI Derry City 0-2 Drogheda Utd (Gavin Brennan, Ryan Brennan (pen))
24/8/13 FAI Longford 2-3 Drogheda Utd (Paul O’Conor, Shane Grimes, Cathal Brady)
30/8/13 LOI Drogheda Utd 2-0 Bray Wanderers (Gavin Brennan, Gary O’Neill)