Updated: 24/02/18 : 08:48:22
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Sligo Rovers stop Derry City.....again

Observations by Eugene McGloin

NOT SO much ‘three billboards’ outside anywhere as two managers on the inside track.

Six days ago Sligo Rovers lost their opening 2018 SSE Airtricity tie 1-0 to Limerick.

The score was 1-0 and it might have been three or four, that sort of night.

Most Chances

The Derry City manager Kenny Shiels was one of the 3,056 attendance on the night.

Sligo Rovers manager Gerard Lyttle was, obviously, at the game too.

Yesterday, the Belfast Telegraph reported Shiels verdict on the Showgrounds.

“They were unlucky to lose against Limerick," said Shiels of last weekend’s game.

“They created most of the chances and had most of the play and were the better team."

Nice Touch

Gerard Lyttle wrote in last night’s match programme: “.....There can be no excuses. We just weren’t good enough on the night.

Tonight, we are going all out to rectify that.” 

The man was as good as his word; he did what it said on the tin.

Sure the 2-1 scoreline sounds like a work in progress at Sligo Rovers  — which it is — but there were a couple of bonuses thrown in.

The work rate, for most Sligo players, was high and highly acceptable.

The entertainment quotient for fans was high too on a sharply cold night (Forget ‘Three billboards,’ I had three woolen scarves on outside and inside.

I didn’t keep count but the combined count of corners in this game seemed high, always a good sign.

It was a clean sporting derby, boosted by a large Derry continent.

Nice touch by Sligo Rovers, too, to play the tribute song to the late Ryan McBride, the Derry City titan who died suddenly just 11 months ago.

Zonal Contests

So, Derry City’s dismal league record at Sligo goes on, without a win since 2009.

Kenny Shiels might argue it would have been 2-2 last night had what seemed a clear cut first half penalty been awarded to Derry for a foul on Rory Patterson.

But that would have been a travesty, Sligo Rovers were superior in most of the match ups and zonal contests before a crowd of 2,319.

Peach Pass

Watching David Cawley last night you saw what talent scouts saw first day ever in the Ballina midfield man. 

Already, after watching just two games, I’d rate him ahead of all others as Gerard Lyttle’s best signing since he came to Sligo last year.

His peach of a pass into the path of Alistair Roy, up ahead on the left, for Sligo Rovers late well earned and well taken second goal, was Cawley’s crowning glory.

But for this punter, the most exciting player to watch on the field last night was Gary Boylan.

Not everything went right for Boylan but his strong runs from the back and teasing crosses will break the resistance of some team in this tight season.

Silly, Short

Derry City are adrift this Saturday morning at the foot of the League.

No surprise, as so much of what they did last night was so, so predictable.

Some team this season will punish their silly short kick-outs and their formatted insistence on (tediously) threading everything at the through Armin Aginovic wearing ‘6.’

The Swede isn’t a good enough player for such a role and with better support Rhy McCabe might have taken early dividends off Aginovic.

Sligo introduced goalkeeper Mitchell Beeney on loan from Chelsea and Derry man Patrick McCourt.

They will both need better tests than this to say whether their stay with Sligo will be productive.

Off Pace

Last night Caolan McAleer left behind the indifference of his showing against Limerick, with strong running on and especially off the ball.

Despite scrambling his first goal for Rovers last night, Liverpool man Adam Morgan in the ‘9’ still has a lot to do. 

For this spectator last night, Morgan sometimes either looked off the pace and/or showed bad positioning. 

There was another manager watching last night’s game in the Showgrounds.

Ian Baraclough was/is Sligo Rovers most successful ever manager.

He was sixty minutes from pulling off historic back to back League titles. 

In all our lifetimes we may never be as close again. It is (always) good to see him back in the precinct.

Last night Baraclough got a chance to run his eye over some under-age prospects for Northern Ireland, the job he now holds with distinction.

Champions Visit

Coming away from the ground last the public address gave us David Bowie’s epic “Heroes.” It made more sense than hearing it Saturday!

Public address: Inside the ground during the match the sound from that system cannot always be clearly heard. 

Two half time draws have now gone unclaimed. Maybe the holders couldn’t hear the announcement. Maybe the numbers should appear in match programmes.

Next Monday night at 7.45 DV champions Cork City come to the Showgrounds.

Sligo always raise their game against Cork, who still inevitably take the points.

Oh, and Cork have a habit, too, of ‘taking’ talented prospects from Sligo to the Leeside.