Report: Rovers 3-1 Bohemians

Sligo Rovers defeated Bohemians at home on Friday night at The Showgrounds after a fine display from start to finish saw Rovers race into a 3-0 lead after 57 minutes.

Rovers were without Garry Buckley, Mark Byrne, Gary Boylan, Conor Walsh, Eli Rooney, Eanna Clancy, Fabrice Hartmann, Reece Hutchinson, Karl O’ Sullivan and James Finnerty ahead of the game, with various injuries.

Greg Bolger, Frank Liivak and Kailin Barlow all came back into the team having been on the bench for the game with UCD last week, with Bolger returning fully from a minor injury.

David Cawley, Lukas Browning and Stefan Radosavljevic all dropped to the substitute’s bench.

Bohemians had former Bit O’ Red players Paddy Kirk, Adam McDonnell and Kris Twardek in their starting side.

Rovers started bright with lots of possession in the Bohs’ final third. Johan Brannefalk’s set-piece delivery tormented the visitors all night and it was his cross on 12 minutes that was met with a header by Kailin Barlow but James Talbot made a smart save.

Max Mata tried his luck soon after, again Brannefalk’s delivery was this time met by Mata’s head but his effort drifted wide.

On 23 minutes, Daniel Lafferty was next to have an opportunity as he pounced on an error from Talbot but his right footed effort was over the bar.

Rovers took a deserved lead in the 25th minute as Niall Morahan won possession in midfield to stop a Bohs break forward. Greg Bolger picked up possession and teed up Mata who found Barlow on the edge of the area. The former Bit O’ Red Academy player worked a yard for himself and drilled a low shot across goal and into the net via the upright to score his first senior goal.

The Showgrounds was in full voice now and Rovers’ effort was epitomised on 38 minutes when both central defenders found themselves chasing down a Bohs defender in the corner of Rovers attacking left side. Pijnaker won the ball back, drove into the penalty area and fizzed a cross across the face of the goal but goalkeeper Talbot parried it away.

Bohs didn’t keep Rovers out for much longer however as Barlow’s cross on 40 minutes looked to be easily gathered by Talbot but he let the ball slip out of his hands and the on-rushing Mata touched it into the net from a yard to double the lead going into half-time.

Frank Liivak picked up a shoulder injury in the first half and was replaced by Stefan Radosavljevic for the second period.

John Russell’s side started the second-half as they finished the first with a fast tempo and chasing everything down from back to front.

The third goal came after a brilliant team move which saw Will Fitzgerald pick up possession after good play from Greg Bolger. The tricky winger dribbled past a host of Bohs players, eventually teeing up Radosavljevic to score his first Showgrounds goal from around 25 yards with a wonderful, dipping effort.

It was all Rovers at this point, however the game changed shortly after that third goal as Kailin Barlow, booked in the first half lost possession in midfield and the scorer of tonight’s first goal pulled James McManus back and referee David Dunne brandished a second yellow card and ultimately a red.

Bohemians had more possession in the last half hour or so however didn’t really threaten the Rovers’ rear-guard and Luke McNicholas, helped by his back four and midfield all night, gathered a couple of crosses and shots as the clock ticked down.

David Cawley, Owen Elding and Lukas Browning had all come on in the second-half, replacing Mata, John Mahon and Bolger respectively.

With two minutes remaining the visitors did pull one back. A scramble on the edge of the box ended with striker Jonathan Afolabi scoring into the bottom corner with a fine effort from 18 yards.

There was five minutes added at the end of the game and Rovers saw it out and picked up a deserved three points.

Next up is Derry City next Friday night at The Ryan McBride Brandywell Stadium, which kicks off at 7.45pm.

The Bit O’ Red then host Celtic B in a mid-season friendly on Tuesday, July 11th before a League game with Cork City on Saturday, July 15th.

Tickets for both games are on sale now at the link below: