Sligo Rovers 3-0 Athlone TownSat, Feb 18 2012
Managerless Sligo Rovers continued their fine pre-season form with another victory, this time over Athlone Town, at the Showgrounds on Saturday night.
Although Paul Cook suffered a heavy 4-0 defeat in his first game in charge of Acrington Stanley, his former side don’t look to be suffering with a fortnight to go before the big kick-off as they fired three past their first division opponents.
The home side were on top right from the start of this tie. New signing Danny North had the first opportunity of the game after six minutes when he turned and struck from the edge of the box forcing a save from Bernard Power.
Athlone's first chance of the game was from a corner, although Paul Danagher failed to make the most of it as he headed well over the bar of Bit O’ Red stopper Gary Rogers.
Rafael Cretaro came agonisingly close to breaking the deadlock after 15 minutes when he met an Alan Keane cross, but his header cannoned off the crossbar. Six minutes later however, Cretaro broke the deadlock as he saw another header hit the woodwork, only for the ball to fall nicely for him to tap in.
Power was forced into a save from his own defender when a completely mistimed clearance almost trickled into the net with ten minutes of the half remaining.
Rovers hit the crossbar for a third time on the brink of half-time, as Ross Gaynor’s powerful strike struck the woodwork and went out of play. North looked to have doubled the home side’s lead just before the half time whistle went when he met a Romauld Boco cross, but he was judged to have been offside.
Rogers was finally forced into a save early in the second half when Garvan Broughall bared down on goal, but the Meath native came out quick to stop the winger from grabbing an equalizer.
Efforts were now few and far between, Danny Ventre's 25-yard strike being tipped wide, but trialist Pascal Millien brought life back into the game when his fantastic effort from outside the box found the far corner of Power's goal. Pascal wasn't finished however, as he celebrated with a series of somersaults and cartwheels.
North made sure of the victory just seconds later when he was picked out by a superb John Dillon ball and found the back of the net when he slotted the ball low under the 'keeper. It proved to be the last action of note as Rovers finished the game with a very comfortable victory.
Sligo Rovers: Gary Rogers, Alan Keane, Jason McGuinness, Gavin Peers, Iarfhliath Davoren, Romauld Boco (Pascal Millien h-t), Lee Lynch (David Cawley 83), Danny Ventre, Ross Gaynor (Mark McGoldrick 86), Rafael Cretaro (John Dillon h-t), Danny North (Liam Martin 86).
Subs not used: Ciaran Kelly, Jake Dykes, Ben McGarry.
Athlone Town: Bernard Power, Damien Rushe, Paul Danagher (Stephen Relihan 65), Ross Kenny, Brian McCarthy, Brian Gill (Joe Woods 65), Jason Hughes, Kevin Williamson, Garvan Broughall, Noel McGee, Mark Sherlock.
Subs not used: Roy King, Robbie Kelleher.
Referee: Paul Deering.
Alan Finn is a Sligo based reporter who joined the Extratime crew in 2012. If there is a match on in The Showgrounds, it is likely you will find him there.