Report: Motherwell 0-1 Rovers

Sligo Rovers defeated defeated Motherwell 1-0 ar Fir Park on Thursday night in front of over 7,000 spectators, including almost 500 travelling Bit O’ Red supporters.

John Russell was without goalkeeper Edward McGinty who completed a move to Oxford United this week, meaning Luke McNicholas came into the starting XI from last week’s European win over Bala Town.

Garry Buckley, Adam McDonnell and Karl O’ Sullivan came into the team from Sunday’s game with UCD in place of Nando Pijnaker, Max Mata and Frank Liivak.

Rovers started on the front foot with Karl O’ Sullivan crossing inside a minute for Will Fitzgerald to fire over.

The hosts looked to keep possession in midfield and move Rovers around but John Russell’s side defended brilliantly and threatened on the counter attack with some nice build up play through midfield.

The moment of the game came when O’ Sullivan’s high ball was headed back toward his own goal by Motherwell defender Bevis Mugabi but Aidan Keena was on hand to intercept it and loft the ball over the back tracking Liam Kelly and into the net to send the Rovers support into raptures.

The hosts piled on pressure from there to half time but Rovers stood tall and defended well, with Luke McNicholas comfortable in goal and the back four making some important clearances to bring us to half time in front.

The second half started with the hosts again looking to keep possession in midfield and move through the thirds to try and get an equaliser.

Rovers stood firm and were a constant threat on the break however, pushing Motherwell further back toward their own goal.

Ross Tierney was introduced on the hour and caused some problems for Rovers with his forward runs, ending in a half chance for him which he shot wide. Callum Slattery and Josh Morris looked to keep Rovers on the back foot throughout but failed to created any major chances in front of goal.

Max Mata was introduced for Adam McDonnell midway through the half and the striker almost got in immediately when he was played in by Keena but couldn’t work the ball past Kelly in goal.

Will Fitzgerald headed just over from Karl O’ Sullivan’s cross soon after but the biggest chance came when Max Mata headed toward goal from Fitzgerald’s cross only to be denied by Jake Carroll on the line. Rovers had huge penalty appeals as it looked to have hit Carroll on the arm, but the referee waived away the appeals.

The Bit O’ Red withstood five minutes of added time and sealed a famous win at Fir Park ahead of next week’s sold out second leg at The Showgrounds.