Match Report: v Shamrock Rovers

Sligo Rovers 0 – 0 Shamrock Rovers

Sligo Rovers were unfortunate not to pick up their first home win of the season as they played out an entertaining scoreless draw with Shamrock Rovers at the Showgrounds.

Both sides had chances to win the game with the best of them falling to Sligo’s Ellis Chapman in the second half. The former Cheltenham attacker unlucky to see his effort swept off the line. While the visitors were fortunate to end the game with the full compliment of players after goalkeeper Leon Pohls smashed into Simon Power outside his own area late with a quarter of an hour to go.

A string of fine saves in the second period from Ed McGinty brings the total number of clean sheets this year to three.

Winger Power returned to the Sligo starting eleven to face his old team, having missed the hosts’ five goal trouncing of Dundalk the Monday previous. While Stephen Bradley was able to name skipper Roberto Lopes in the Shamrock Rovers team for the first time since his escapades with Cape Verde at the African Cup of Nations, their only change from their late draw with Derry City. Gary O’Neill, due to start, was a late withdrawal due to an injury sustained in the warm-up.

Both sides created chances during a first half which was frenetic at times. Former Hoops winger Power’s early set-piece found its way to the back post. Both Max Mata and Ollie Denham close to the crucial touch that would have turned the ball home.

Another player going up against his former club, Aaron Greene had the Tallaght side’s first opportunity but McGinty got behind his low effort.

The lively Power struck the outside of Pohls’ near post 60 seconds later after a well worked one-two between the Greystones native and Mata. 
The end-to-end nature of the half continued although the crowd had to wait until the 33rd minute for the next chance. Graham Burke’s finish let him down at the far post, after Darragh Burns’ dipping cross evaded the Rovers defence.

John Russell’s charges did end the half the stronger.

Chapman stabbing Power’s free-kick toward goal where Pohls reacted in time to fumble the ball away for a corner. Fabrice Hartmann then dragged his shot from the resulting set piece narrowly wide.

McGinty easily dealt with Burke’s shot from the angle early in the second period, before Chapman’s opportunity on 51 minutes.

JR Wilson’s hard work saw him to the end line before the former Shels full-back squared for Chapman whose weak effort from seven yards was hacked off the line by birthday boy Dan Cleary with Pohls nowhere near the situation.

With plenty of possesion in front of the Sligo penalty area, the Dubliners looked to turn the screw although McGinty was suitably protected by the well-marshalled rearguard in front of him. Although the loanee goalkeeper was called into play in the 72nd minute when he traveled from his goal-line to fall at the feet of Sligo native Johnny Kenny after Burke had scopped the ball into the path of the second-half substitute.  Sligo were left exasperated two minutes later when Pohls crashed into the surging Power outside the Hoops area. Referee Rob Hennessy deciding a Shamrock Rovers defender was covering, opting to flash a yellow card at the German net-minder.

Rovers defender Ollie Denham then got in front of Kenny’s goal-bound effort as the points hung in the balance, while McGinty denied Kenny again with three minutes to go, spreading his body to cover the space between himself and his near post.

Rovers’ next game is Saturday March 16th as we host Drogheda United at the Showgrounds, kick-off 7.45pm. Tickets can be purchased below.

Sligo Rovers:Ed McGinty; JR Wilson, Nando Pijnaker, Ollie Denham, Reece Hutchinson; Niall Morahan (Kailin Barlow 89), Conor Malley; Simon Power, Ellis Chapman, Fabrice Hartmann (Will Fitzgerald 61); Max Mata (Wilson Waweru 77).

Shamrock Rovers: Leon Pohls; Lee Grace, Roberto Lopes, Dan Cleary; Darragh Burns, Josh Honohan; Dylan Watts (Darragh Nugent 88), Markus Poom; Graham Burke (Conan Noonan 88), Rory Gaffney (Johnny Kenny 63); Aaron Greene (Richie Towell 76).

Referee: Rob Hennessy.

Attendance: 3,674