Report: Rovers 3-2 Drogheda United

Sligo Rovers hosted Drogheda United on Saturday night at The Showgrounds in front of 2,125 supporters on a beautiful Sligo evening.

Rovers came into the game on the back of a 1-0 win over Finn Harps on Monday night and our visitors drew 1-1 with in form Derry City also on Bank Holiday Monday at Head in The Game Park.

Liam Buckley made four changes to his starting team from Monday’s game, with Greg Bolger, Will Fitzgerald, Garry Buckley and Aidan Keena all coming into the starting eleven in place of Nando Pijnaker, Max Mata, Adam McDonnell and Karl O’ Sullivan.

It took just 57 seconds for the game to spark into life. Will Fitzgerald’s inch perfect through ball found Cawley who ran into the box and fired low past Sam Long in the Drogheda United goal.

The supporters were barely back in their seats when Cawley got his and Rovers’ second just a minute later, again firing past Long after another assist from Fitzgerald.

It was almost 3-0 on 17 minutes. Again Cawley found space and his shot flashed just wide of the goal but Long got a finger tip on it to push it around his post.

Ten minutes later, Drogheda had a chance to pull one back. Edward McGinty was adjudged to have fouled Ryan Brennan in the box and referee Damien MacGraith pointed to the penalty spot. McGinty was unhappy with the referee’s decision and replays suggest he did get a touch on the ball. McGinty saved Chris Lyons’ penalty but the ball rebounded to the on rushing Georgie Poynton who scored from 12 yards.

Rovers didn’t let this setback effect them and went in search of a third goal. Fitzgerald, Byrne, Keena and Cawley were instrumental in Rovers’ attacks and created some good openings all night.

Fitzgerald was hauled down in the area by a Drogs defender on 35 minutes and referee MacGraith had no hesitation and pointed to the spot for the second time of the evening. Keena stepped up but saw his kick saved by Long and it remained 2-1.

Cawley controlled a dipping volley brilliantly just before half time but Long tipped over for a corner, the resulting set piece was headed onto the bar by defender Shane Blaney who rose highest in the box.

It was 2-1 to Rovers at half time in what was a highly entertaining half of football.

The away side came out in the second half in search of an equaliser and they were rewarded on 54 minutes. A cross from the left wasn’t dealt with and Blaney knocked the ball into his own net with pressure from Chris Lyons who was closing him down from behind.

Less than a minute later, Drogs defender Evan Weir was shown a second yellow card for a foul on Colm Horgan and referee MacGraith showed him his marching orders.

Rovers rallied and Liam Buckley made a number of changes with Adam McDonnell, Lewis Banks, Jordan Hamilton and Karl O’ Sullivan all brought on in place of Horgan, Niall Morahan, Byrne and Bolger as Rovers looked for an equaliser.

Some good football from the home side produced some fine chances but a combination of good defending and good goalkeeping just about kept Rovers at bay.

There were chances for Banks, Hamilton and Keena but it was the 91st minute that brought the all important winner. Karl O’ Sullivan’s corner from the left found Lewis Banks. He couldn’t work a shot but it fell to Garry Buckley to slam home his first goal of the season to seal all three points for Liam Buckley’s men and send the home crowd into raptures.

Next up is Shamrock Rovers next Friday night at 7.45pm at home.