Match stats: Rovers v Crusaders
Sligo Rovers' win over Athlone Town on Saturday extended the unbeaten home run to 10 games, the last defeat being toMolde in the Champions League.
Going another game at home without losing and taking the run to 11 would make it the longest undefeated home run since going 17 without a loss between September 2011 and May 2012.
The 10 game spell has included eight wins a two draws with a total of 16 goals scored and eight clean sheets.
Although Rovers did concede for just the second time in 10 games at home it was again from the penalty spot meaning it is now 948 minutes since a goal was conceded by Rovers in open play at the Showgrounds. That goal being from Molde’s Daniel Chima.
Both home and away in the last 16 games the Bit o’Red now have 12 wins and two draws with just the two losses. They both came in away games to champions St. Pat’s.
Rovers had to come from behind to win last time out against Athlone something done twice at home last year. Firstly against Limerick early in the season by the same score and in the 5-2 victory over UCD.
It was also done two other times, they were in the last two games of 2013 when beating Shamrock Rovers 2-1 in Tallaght from 1-0 down on the final day of the league season and again in the FAI Cup final to overcome Drogheda after they had taken a lead in the first half.
The winner coming in the 87th minute against Athlone was the latest match winner Rovers scored since the penalty from Mark Quigley that won the league in the final minute of the game against St. Pat’s in October 2012.
The first goal on the night came from John Russell which was his first since re-joining the club and his 10th overall with the FAI Cup winners.
His last goal for Rovers was in a 3-0 away win over Drogheda United in September 2011. It took him just three games to get his first going one better than his first spell with the club when he claimed his first Rovers goal after four appearances in a 5-1 home success against Bray Wanderers.
The other goal from Evan McMillan was the 30th of his career with six of them being in the Bit o’Red. He also scored in the first home game of the 2013 season when he netted on debut in a 5-0 Setanta Sports Cup win.
It means he has now scored in the last two Showgrounds games consecutively having also got on the scoresheet when beating Drogheda United in the final home outing of the 2013 campaign.
The past two seasons have seen excellent starts to the year by Rovers particularly at home. In 2011 the first five games were won with a run of 11 unbeaten. Last year the first six resulted in wins with an eventual run of nine undefeated until a loss to Dundalk.
Fifteen of the last 16 games in the Showgrounds which have been played on a Monday night have been won by Rovers with the other being a 0-0 draw against Cork City on September 30th last year.
That run includes a win over Crusaders in this competition as well as three others in the Setanta Sports Cup. The last Monday night loss for the Bit o’ Red at home did come in this competition when Shamrock Rovers took away a 2-1 win in April 2011.
Getting through would put Rovers into a 14th semi-final out of the last 15 domestic cup competitions entered. The only exception would be the 2012 FAI Cup when going out in the early rounds with a defeat to Monaghan United. Apart from that Rovers made the semi-finals of that competition for four of the last five attempts winning on each occasion.
In the EA Sports cup the semi-final stage has been made for five successive years since failing to do so in 2008. And for the Setanta Sports Cup a victory would be it also being five semi-finals in a row.
The club has not lost in the quarter-finals of any cup competition since 2005 when being knocked out of the FAI Cup by Cork City in a 3-1 defeat at Turner’s Cross.
There have been 13 games played at the Showgrounds in cup competitions under Ian Baraclough from which there has been 10 wins, one draw and two losses. Three games which did not produce wins includes two European ties against Spartak Trnava and Molde as well as the FAI Cup loss mentioned before to Monaghan United.
Last six results:
19/10/13 LOI Sligo Rovers 3-1 Drogheda United (AnthonyElding x2 (1 pen), Evan McMillan)
25/10/13 LOI Shamrock Rovers 1-2 Sligo Rovers (Aaron Greene, Danny North)
3/11/13 FAI Sligo Rovers 3-2 Drogheda United (Danny North x2, Anthony Elding)
24/2/14 SSC Crusaders 1-4 Sligo Rovers (Eric Odhiambox3, Aaron Greene)
2/3/14 PC St. Pat’s 1-0 Sligo Rovers
8/3/14 LOI Sligo Rovers 2-1 Athlone Town (John Russell, Evan McMillan)
Setanta Sports Cup:
Rovers are attempting to make a tournament record fifth semi-final by getting past Crusaders. The current total of four means Rovers share the record with Cork City and Drogheda United.
The Bit o’ Red are already the only team to have contested four in-a-row.
In total Rovers have played 18 games in the competition winning 10, drawing two and suffering six defeats. Since the loss to Crusaders in April 2012 the Bit o’Red have won five out of six games played.
From the 11 games which Rovers have played against clubs from the Irish league nine have been won with one draw (against Glentoran in 2012) and the one loss against Crusaders.
The five home fixtures have all been won with an aggregate scoreline of 15-1. Crusaders are therefore the only Irish league side to manage a goal in the Showgrounds with it coming from the penalty spot in extra-time of the 2012 semi-final.
Rovers full record away to Irish League sides is as follows:
Group stages:327/2/10 Sligo Rovers 3-0 Cliftonville (Danny Ventre, Eoin Doyle, Padraig Amond)
Quarter-final:28/3/11 Sligo Rovers 3-0 Portadown (John Dillon, John Russell, Raffaele Cretaro)
Quarter-final:5/3/12 Sligo Rovers 2-0 Glentoran (Romuald Boco, Mark Quigley)
Semi-final:23/4/12 Sligo Rovers 2-1 Crusaders (AET) (Romuald Boco, Mark Quigley)
Quarter-final: 4/3/13 Sligo Rovers 5-0 Glentoran (Lee Lynch x2, Anthony Elding, Ryan Connolly, Evan McMillan)
In this stage of the competition last year Rovers beat Glentoran 8-0 on aggregate which is the biggest two leg winning margin in the history of the competition.
Joseph Ndo has played more games in the competition than any other player in the squad with 21 (eight with Rovers) while Raffaele Cretaro has the most goals with four (two for Rovers).
Eric Odhiambo’s hat-trick in the first leg put him level with Lee Lynch for having scored the most goals for Rovers in the Setanta Cup with three.
Raffaele Cretaro and Aaron Greene both won the competition withBohs in 2010 while Richard Brush and Danny Ledwith won it last season with Shamrock Rovers. Ledwith played the 90 minutes with Brush an unused sub while fellow new signing Paul O’Conor came off the bench for runners-up Drogheda.
The meeting in 2012 was the first ever between the clubs. That means that the head-to-head record is now just in Rovers favour with two wins to one.
Crusaders came out on top in the first ever meeting with the Bit o’Red winning both since.
Only once in the history of this competition has a team come back to win after losing the first leg. That was last year when Shamrock Rovers got past Coleraine after losing the first leg 1-0.
16/4/12 SSC Crusaders 2-0 Sligo Rovers
23/4/12 SSC Sligo Rovers 2-1 Crusaders (Romuald Boco, Mark Quigley) (AET)
24/2/14 SSC Crusaders 1-4 Sligo Rovers (Eric Odhiambox3, Aaron Greene)