Report: Rovers 2-1 St. Patrick’s Athletic

Sligo Rovers took all three points in from of 2,751 supporters at a vocal Showgrounds on Monday night in the SSE Airtricity Men’s Premier Division.

Both sides suffered defeats in Louth on Friday night with Rovers losing 1-0 in Drogheda and Pats defeated 5-0 in Oriel Park against Dundalk.

John Russell made four changes to the team that started on Friday with Greg Bolger, Stefan Radosavljevic, Fabrice Hartmann and John Mahon all coming into the starting team in place of Lukas Browning, Kailin Barlow, Eanna Clancy and Frank Liivak.

The opening fifteen or twenty minutes were tight with both sides playing some nice football with no clear cut chances for either team.

On 21 minutes the game’s big talking point occurred when John Mahon was stripped of possession 40 yards from goal by Tommy Lonergan. Mahon pulled the Saints striker back and was shown a straight red card by referee Rob Hennessy for denying a goalscoring opportunity. Replays suggest that Niall Morahan was back to cover Mahon however the red card was shown and Mahon now misses Saturday’s home game against Cork City.

Rovers didn’t let the extra man effect them and took the lead on 34 minutes.

Lovely patient build up play between a number of Bit O’ Red players eventually saw the ball switched out to left-back Reece Hutchinson. Hutchinson took a touch out of his feet and ran by a couple of St. Pat’s defenders before playing it wide to Will Fitzgerald. Fitzgerald got to the byline and cut it back for the onrushing Hutchinson who swept the ball home with a tidy finish for his first Rovers goal.

It was 1-0 at the break and visiting Manager Tim Clancy introduced club Captain Chris Forrester and Jake Mulraney as he looked to get his side back on terms.

The away side had most of the possession with the help of the extra man but Rovers were defending well and threatening on the counter attack. John Russell brought on Eanna Clancy on 57 minutes for Greg Bolger with Niall Morahan moving back into midfield having provided cover after Mahon’s sending off.

On 62 minutes the visitors struck back. Sub Forrester picked up the ball around 25 yards from goal and unleashed an unstoppable strike which arrowed into the top left hand corner giving Luke McNicholas no chance, and the sides were level.

Five minutes later however, Rovers were back in front. Johan Brannefalk’s quick free kick put Fabrice Hartmann in down the right of the penalty area and he cut inside on his left foot and curled one into the far corner to give his side the lead for the second time.

The visitors looked to get back into the game but Rovers were resolute at the back and potent in attack with the impressive Mata proving his worth with a monumental display up front on his own.

Luke McNicholas was comfortable and Nando Pijnaker marshalled the defence well and Rovers saw the game out and got a first Showgrounds win of the season.

Next up is a home game against Cork City here on Saturday evening at 7.45pm