Rovers sink UCD with dominat display
UCD failed to capitalise on Athlone Town's defeat to Limerick on Friday, as they were beaten 4-0 by a dominant Sligo Rovers in the SSE Airtricity League Premier Division at the Showgrounds.
A first half strike from Eamon Zayed was followed by a second half goal from Gary Armstrong on his first senior start, while Paul O'Conor and Danny Ledwith then followed up with goals of their own during Gavin Dykes' first win as interim boss.
Aaron Callaghan's side continue to sit just a single point above basement side Athlone, following a game in which Rovers enjoyed almost complete control.
An injury ravaged Sligo side were without a host of first team players and were forced to hand a first start to 18-year-old Gary Armstrong, grandson of Rovers' all time top scorer Johnny. The young winger showed his keen eye for goal inside the first minute but he was unfortunate to see his bending shot clip the outside of Conor O'Donnell's far post.
Former student Paul O'Conor skied his effort from the edge of the area on seven minutes having been teed up by Danny North, while team mate David Cawley did likewise moments later.
O'Donnell did well to fall at the feet of the oncoming Raffaele Cretaro before clearing the ball to safety on the ten minute mark, after he was sent through on goal by a superb ball from Cawley. The home side looking the stronger early on.
It took 15 minutes for the Dubliners to produce their first chance. Samir Belhout given plenty of time to shoot at the edge of the area, but he couldn't control his effort as it soared over Richard Brush's crossbar.
Rovers' Eamon Zayed nodded wide from a well hit Gary Boylan cross on 25,
North and Zayed both combined on 33 to set up Cretaro. The winger skipped by the challenge of Gareth Matthews, but couldn't beat O'Donnell who dived low down to his left to claim the ball.
Rovers did however take the lead two minutes later. Armstrong robbed the ball from a opponent in the centre of the field before threading a ball through to Cretaro. The winger found Zayed in turn who side footed the ball first time past the stationary O'Donnell for his fourth league goal for the Bit O'Red.
O'Donnell did well to palm North's vicious drive above his crossbar on 38, while Armstrong dragged his shot narrowly wide three minutes from half-time after North picked him out at the edge of the six yard box.
Rovers sucker-punched UCD with a quick fire double on 51 and 54.
First, Armstrong doubled Sligo's lead. Cretaro did well to recycle Ledwith's miss-hit cross from the left before the ball landed at the feet of Zayed. The Libyan international's strike was deflected away by a UCD body, but for the ball to land at the feet of Armstrong. The youngster took one touch to compose himself before firing past O'Donnell for his first goal for his home town club.
Aaron Callaghan's side had only just re-started when Zayed found O'Conor in a dangerous position inside the UCD area. The midfielder acrobatically volleying the ball beyond the helpless O'Donnell for his fourth league goal of 2014..
Robbie Creevy almost grabbed UCD's opener on 55, but Brush was equal to his headed effort.
North and Cretaro were both denied by a busy O'Donnell on 61 and 65 respectively, while UCD's Belhout missed the target from 20 yards on 70.
Rovers compounded the away side's misery on 76 as their rearguard allowed Danny Ledwith's free kick from the wing sneak past them to make it 4-0. O'Donnell was left stranded by his defence as the ball sailed in front of him and into the far corner.
Sligo Rovers: Richard Brush; Gary Boylan, Gavin Peers, Evan McMillan, Danny Ledwith; Raffaele Cretaro (for Ruairi Keating 84), David Cawley, Paul O'Conor, Gary Armstrong (for Ryan McManus 70); Eamon Zayed (for Regan Donelon 81), Danny North.
UCD: Conor O'Donnell; Gareth Matthews, Ian Ryan, Hugh Douglas, James Kavanagh (for Dan Tobin 81); Robbie Benson, Robbie Creevy, Chris Mulhall (for Timmy Molloy 87), Ayman Ben Mohamad, Colin Crowe (for Gary Burke 67); Samir Belhout.
Referee: Ray Matthews