Report: Rovers 2-1 Bohemians

Sunday evening saw 5th place take on 6th in The SSE Airtricity League as Sligo Rovers hosted Bohemians at The Showgrounds.

The Bit O’ Red weren’t long back from Stavanger in Norway following Thursday night’s First-Leg defeat to the Norweigans and manager John Russell was without a host of key players going into the game.

Garry Buckley, Adam McDonnell, Lewis Banks, Colm Horgan and Seamas Keogh all missed out through injury however Greg Bolger returned to make his first start since June having recovered from a heel injury.

Karl O’ Sullivan slotted into the back four and Nando Pijnaker came in beside Shane Blaney at centre back in place of Garry Buckley.

Frank Liivak started on the right and Max Mata was among the subs having played over 90 minutes in total as a substitute in Thursday’s game against Viking.

The game started slowly with no major chances created by either side. Rovers went close through Aidan Keena and the visitors tried their lick on a few occasions but there was nothing to trouble Rovers’ keeper Luke McNicholas.

There were four bookings in the first half with Paddy Kirk and Shane Blaney booked for Rovers and Liam Burt and Declan McDaid being shown a yellow each for Bohs.

John Russell made two half time substitutions with Greg Bolger and David Cawley replaced by Robbie Burton and Max Mata.

This gave Rovers a little more in attack and the hosts started the half the brightest with long periods of possession only for that to be undone on the counter attack as Bohs took the lead through John O’ Sullivan, shooting low past McNicholas on 54 minutes.

Ten minutes later though, Rovers were level. Aidan Keena found space and clipped a lovely through ball to Mata and the New Zealander made no mistake, blasting home into the far corner of the Bohs net.

Two minutes later and Mata was at it again. Will Fitzgerald’s cross from the left was knocked down into Mata’s path and he controlled it on his chest and scored with a strong left footed effort past goalkeeper Tadhg Ryan to give Rovers a deserved lead.

Aidan Keena almost got in on the act with 18 minutes remaining. Great play down the left from Paddy Kirk saw him skip inside his man and run along the end line before finding Keena who’s powerful effort was saved by Ryan.

The visitors tried to push forward and manager Keith Long made a number of changes as the half went on but in the end Rovers saw the game out well and earned a valuable three points on a tough afternoon at The Showgrounds.

Next up is our Europa Conference League Second Leg tie with Viking with the score currently 5-1 to our opponents following the First Leg.

Kick off is 7pm and the game is sold out.