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Sligo Rovers 4-1 Derry City
19.46 – Hello and welcome to our liveblog, and we’re just underway at the Showgrounds.
19.49 – Here is the belated team news:
Sligo: Rogers, Conneely, Gaynor, Peers, McGuinness, Lynch, Millien, Ventre, Ndo, Cretaro, Quigley. Subs: Brush, Henderson, Cawley, Dillon, Buchanan, Connolly, Owens.
Derry: Doherty, Madden, McCaffrey, Greacen, McBride, P.McEleney, Deery, Higgins, McNamee, McDaid, Farren. Subs: Ferry, S.McEleney, Murphy, Curran, Bonner, Duffy.
19.52 – It’s been a lively start with both sides wasting chances to take the lead already.
19.54 – Sligo break swiftly, but unfortunately for the hosts, Cretaro overhits the cross.
Still though, it’s been a relatively encouraging start for the league leaders.
19.59 – GOAL FOR SLIGO!
20.02 – Sligo 1-0 Derry (12 mins): A dangerous corner is fl0ated in, and the defender McBride appears to get the last touch, inadvertently diverting it into his own net.
It’s a somewhat fortuitous goal, but Sligo will hardly care.
20.05 – Few people will begrudge Sligo that goal.
They’ve clearly approached this game in a positive manner, and have definitely been the better side in the first few minutes.
Millien, in particular, has caught the eye – though as is often the case with the player, his final ball could be better.
20.08 – The opening goal has not caused Sligo to take their foot off the pedal by any means.
Conneely crosses threateningly, and Doherty can only parry the ball away unconvincingly.
Derry look shaky whenever the hosts attack them.
20.12 – Goal ruled out for Sligo, as Joseph N’do capitalises after the goalkeeper can only parry away the initial shot, but he is adjudged to have been in an offside position while scoring.
It’ll be interesting to see a replay of that.
20.17 – There’s been slightly less goalmouth action of late, but Sligo still appear well in control of this game.
Derry have rarely threatened, and seem to lack any real creativity or cutting edge at the moment.
As I type, the impressive Millien goes on another one of his characteristic mazy runs, before blasting the ball narrowly over the bar.
Sligo’s Mark Quigley celebrates their first goal (INPHO/Donall Farmer).
20.21 – GOAL FOR SLIGO!
20.25 – Sligo 2-0 Derry (34 mins): Cretaro finishes with aplomb, after capitalising on a poor Graecen clearance.
Dare I say Sligo have one hand on the title now? Surely Derry can’t come back, given how dominant the hosts have been in this half.
20.29 – The game continues to be played mainly in Derry’s half, with their opponents enjoying the majority of the possession too.
So far, it’s been a stroll for the league leaders, and if Derry aren’t careful, they could lose this game by four or five goals.
20.33 – Yellow card for McBride, after Millien gets to the ball ahead of him and is tripped for his troubles.
He’s lucky to get away with a booking there, as Sligo would have had a 2-on-1 attack.
20.34 – HALF-TIME: SLIGO 2-0 DERRY
20.42 – At half-time, it’s so far, so good as far as Sligo fans are concerned.
And it’s been a performance befitting of champions, as Ian Baraclough’s men have looked thoroughly solid in every position of the field.
They’ve dominated both in terms of possession and territory, and the scoreline reflects their superiority.
Derry, meanwhile, have made it easy for their opponents, failing to exert enough pressure on their opponents when they don’t have the ball, and looking positively anemic and short of ideas when they do.
And incidentally, there is some debate about the identity of the game’s first goalscorer, with some claiming Quigley got the final touch.
20.48 – The second half has begun…
20.55 – Another threatening attack from the hosts, though N’do brings the move to a halt, after he tries an over-elaborate back-heel in the box and concedes possession in the process.
Meanwhile, down the other end of the field, a rare Derry attack leads to Higgins shooting just wide from the edge of the box.
Sligo can’t afford to get too complacent, despite their obvious superiority so far.
20.59 – GOAL FOR SLIGO!
21.03 – Sligo 3-0 Derry (55 mins): A nice through ball from Lynch finds Cretaro, and he dribbles past Graecen and confidently converts past the keeper for his second goal of the evening.
Barring a miracle, it’s game over and another three points for Sligo.
21.06 – Derry show signs of life, but Farren’s header is straight at the keeper.
Even with half an hour to play, a Derry goal will surely be little more than a consolation.
21.11 – GOAL FOR DERRY!
21.14 – Sligo 3-1 Derry (66 mins): McDaid finishes from close range, after being set up by an intelligent pass from Higgins.
That makes the last 20 minutes interesting.
21.18 – Derry don’t look especially rejuvenated despite that McDaid goal.
You get the sense that even they believe the game is lost at this stage.
21.19 – GOAL FOR SLIGO!
21.22 – Sligo 4-1 Derry (75 mins): More disastrous defending from Sligo, as they concede possession deep in their own territory.
Consequently, Lynch is put through on goal, and Doherty can only help his powerful shot into the net.
If there were any lingering doubts about the outcome of this game, that moment has settled it once and for all.
21.27 – Less than ten minutes remain, and the climax is understandably a bit of damp squib, as there’s nothing but pride to play for now.
Consequently, there’s been a number of substitutions, with both managers looking to give certain players an innocuous run-out.
Sligo’s Raffaele Cretaro scores his sides third goal despite goalkeeper Gerard Doherty of Derry (INPHO/James Crombie).
21.35 – So this win will take Sligo eight points clear of St Pat’s, with four games remaining for both sides.
Therefore, it would take a disaster of epic proportions now, to prevent Ian Baraclough’s men from being crowned champions.
21.36 – FULL-TIME: SLIGO 4-1 DERRY
21.45 – The final whistle has blown, but in truth, this game has been effectively over for quite some time – and the statement surely now applies to the league title now as well.
Fittingly in the context of how the season has panned out, Sligo delivered an imperious performance, virtually having the game wrapped up by half-time.
They kept the ball much better than Derry, and thus enjoyed more of the play throughout the game. Their intensive pressure ultimately forced the visitors into making elementary errors at the back, and the league leaders subsequently took full advantage of their opponents’ all-too-frequent defensive mishaps.
21.48 – Man of the match Raffaele Cretaro tells Setanta that “three points was the main thing and a performance like that is always a good sign”.
He also identifies their ability to “press at a high tempo” as being crucial to their win.
21.52 – Sligo boss Ian Baraclough describes tonight’s match as “a tough game”.
He admits that “a couple of mistakes helped us out” and reiterates Cretaro’s emphasis on the importance of their pressing game in unsettling Derry and forcing them into making mistakes.
21.58 – Right, that’s it from me.
Thanks, as always, for your company and enjoy the rest of your weekend.