Report: Second pre-season win for Rovers
Sligo Rovers continued pre-season preparations with a comfortable 3-0 victory over Waterford United in the RSC on Friday night.
For the second game in a row new strikers Dinny Corcoran and Morten Nielsen got on the scoresheet with Eoin Wearen getting the other as the Bit o’Red made it two wins from two so far having already beaten Shelbourne 3-1.
Rovers got on top right from the off, with just 40 seconds on the clock a long pass up to Sander Puri was headed into Morten Nielsen in the box but despite the space he found himself in he could only shoot wide.
The Dane then set up the next opportunity with a cross from the left on nine minutes. It picked out Kevin Devaney who got the ball under control before firing the ball towards the near post but Blues keeper Matthew Connor turned it wide.
One minute late the first goal came. Captain David Cawley played the ball into the area to the feet of Dinny Corcoran. He turned in a flash to get away from his man and found the corner of the net with a lovely finish. Corcoran, who was celebrating his 26th birthday had also scored the opener last time out against Shelbourne.
On 15 minutes Corcoran again got the ball inside the home side’s box, he laid it back for John Russell whose clean shot was well held by the keeper.
Nielsen again did well out on the left on 18 minutes slipping a nice ball through for Sander Puri. He scooped the ball over the keeper but there was defenders back on the line to get the ball cleared.
Puri again had an attempt at goal on 24 minutes coming in from the left wing and shooting low but again Connor was able to save and force a corner.
The first real adventure forward for the hosts came on 35 minutes when Shane Nolan went down the right and looked to beat Ryan Coulter at the near post however he sent it well wide. Three minutes later there was another chance for Waterford when winger Hawe stole in round the back but he didn’t find the target with this header.
On 40 minutes two attempts from Rovers, both from the outside of the box, caused problems. Firstly Puri was found by Russell and he hammered the ball at goal. Burns got himself in the way but that put the ball into the path of Nielsen who hit the target with a first time effort which went into the hands of Connor.
A nice move two minutes from time created a chance for Cawley to shoot. A low ball by Ledwith into the feet of Puri was softly laid back into the path of Cawley for a piledriver but a diving block by Burns denied him.
There was time for one more shot before the break when Cawley turned provider for Ledwith to strike at goal. A lovely flick with the back of his heel by the Ballina man put the ball into space for Lediwth to run on to. He connected well but an outstretched foot prevented it getting to the goals.
The same 11 returned for the second half. It was Waterford who made the first opening and Coulter made his first and only save of the night on 49 minutes. Hawe got in behind the defence but the former Athlone Town keeper stood his ground and saved comfortably.
After 54 minutes the Bit o’Red threatened seriously for the first time with Nielsen again proving too much for the home side to handle. He won the ball himself and ran down the left side of the box before shooting with power across goal. Sub Dylan Mernagh got a leg in the way to put the ball behind and give Rovers a corner.
The resulting corner saw Ledwith go close again as it was played to him on the D of the box but he sent his powerful effort over.
Another Devaney corner three minutes after created a chance for Stephen Folan up from the back but his header went right into the arms of the keeper.
A typical Alan Keane surge forward on 64 minutes seen the keeper tested again but after beating two players to come inside the shot lacked the conviction to force a difficult save.
After Hawe’s shot clipped the bar on 71 minutes Rovers went up the other end and sub Gary Boylan had a shot forced wide with a deflection.
That gave a corner for two more subs to combine and finally bring the second goal. Keith Ward delivered a fizzing ball into the heart of the box which was met by the head of Eoin Wearen to powerfully put home from six yards.
Ward was creator of another good chance on 83 minutes when he chipped the ball over the Waterford defence to find Cretaro, also on from the bench, through on goal. But the keeper came out to meet him and kept the ball out with his feet.
With 87 minutes played Rovers netted their third goal and it was a well-deserved one for the hard-working Nielsen. A strong run through the middle from Ward gave himself the opportunity to shoot. He shot down the centre of goals but substitute keeper Robert Birdsall couldn’t handle and put the ball to the feet of Nielsen who chased in and scored from just a few yards.
Ward was again unlucky not to have a goal of his own in stoppage time when he put a 25 yard free-kick up and over the wall but the keeper got across and made the save.
That was full-time and for the second game in a row Owen Heary’s team got three goals and the win.
In just two more days the next game will be played with a short trip to play Balisodare United.
Rovers: Coulter, Keane (Boylan 72), Folan, Dykes, Ledwith, Devaney (Beattie 60), Cawley (c), Russell (Wearen 60), Puri (Cretaro 60), Corcoran (Ward 60), Nielsen.
Waterford: Connor, Reidy, O'Donnell, Burns, Dineen, Nolan, O'Donoghue, McAlevey, Peel, Shane Nolan, Hawe.