UCD 2-3 Sligo Rovers: Report

The Bit O’ Red got a first win of the 2023 SSE Airtricity Men’s Premier Division season on Friday night after a hard fought 3-2 win over UCD at The UCD Bowl.

Max Mata was the hero for Rovers as he scored all three goals to seal the points for John Russell’s men.

Rovers got off to the worst possible start after just four minute when Eanna Clancy’s back pass was cut out by Dara Keane who’s cross was met first time by winger Alex Nolan to sweep the ball home.

Max Mata brought Rovers level after 22 minutes after good work down the right hand side from Frank Liivak who put the New Zealander in behind with a nice ball down the side of the home defence.

Mata cut in on his left foot and rolled the ball into the corner past Lorcan Healy.

The sides went in all square at the break.

The second half started with a Reece Hutchinson shot from distance that went just over the crossbar before UCD regained the lead a minute later.

Jack Keaney’s long ball out of defence wasn’t dealt with by Rovers and Nolan squeezed a through ball into the path of Danu Kinsella Bishop who made no mistake from close range.

Stefan Radosavljevic and Fabrice Hartmann were introduced by John Russell on 58 minutes and it didn’t take long for Hartmann to be involved.

His brilliant run took him into the penalty area and his shot was blocked down by the arm of Michael Barr on 69 minutes. Mata grabbed the ball and scored from 12 yards for his second of the night.

On 82 minutes, Rovers had the chance to go in front. Reece Hutchinson broke into the box and was taken down by Nolan and referee Ray Matthews pointed to the spot.

Mata completed his hattrick with another well taken spot kick to give Rovers all three points.

Next up is a trip to face Drogheda United next Friday night.