Two goals from Aaron Greene and a Dave Cawley strike gave defending champions Sligo Rovers an important victory on a chilly night in Dublin
Sligo Rovers regained their five-point lead at the top of the Airtricity League with a comfortable 3-0 win at The UCD Bowl. Derry City’s 2-0 win against Bray earlier in the afternoon had reduced the gap to two points but the champions made it six consecutive league victories against UCD with goals from Aaron Greene either side of a Dave Cawley strike making the difference.
However, it was not a vintage performance from the champions and the opening period of the game was very disjointed with both sides making mistakes in possession. Rovers looked more dangerous and Cretaro’s fluid movement forced several corners but UCD’s defence remained solid and disciplined. Captain David O’Connor was commanding in the air against Anthony Elding and goalkeeper Mark McGinley dealt comfortably with several crosses into his box.
Aaron Greene’s long-range effort on 20 minutes was Sligo’s first real attempt at goal. He controlled the ball well before volleying a shot past McGinley’s left-hand post. UCD were building attacking momentum and forced a corner on 26 minutes but the champions counter attacked with devastating effect.
Cretaro latched on to a long punt from goalkeeper Gary Rogers, danced around Coyne and found Djilali in the middle with a low cross. Djilali cleverly flicked the ball back to Greene who slammed his shot past the helpless McGinley from the edge of the box to give the Bit o’ Red a deserved half-time lead.
UCD had the first attempt after the interval when Burke stole possession from David Cawley and fed McMillan but Rogers easily gathered the striker’s left-footed shot. Rovers doubled their lead just before the hour mark when Dave Cawley smashed home from inside the box. Lynch whipped a corner into the box and the ball fell to Greene, whose effort was blocked into the path of Cawley who made no mistake.
Sligo looked to extend their lead further when Ross Gaynor fired a free kick from the left goalward but McGinley was equal to the shot. Despite the two-goal deficit, UCD continued to pass the ball well but lacked real potency in the final third. But the game was sealed when Aaron Greene embarked on a magnificent solo effort beating several defenders before slotting the ball past McGinley.
Sligo Rovers welcome Shelbourne to The Showgrounds on Saturday full of confidence while bottom club UCD will continue to search for their first win when they visit Cork City on Friday night.