Sligo cruise past Bohemians to maintain unbeaten start
Elding on target again as champions continue their winning ways
Sligo’s Raffaele Cretaro celebrates scoring the opening goal of the game. Photograph: Lorraine O’Sullivan/Inpho
Bohemians 0 Sligo Rovers 3: We must wait quite a while longer to see the season's first showdown between Sligo Rovers and the Dubliners who were supposed to provide the greatest threat to their hopes of retaining their title but on present form the champions will not be lying awake worrying about that trip to Tallaght in early May.
Trevor Croly’s men had been to Dalymount last Monday week when, as they did at Oriel Park, they earned a rather laboured scoreless draw. Sligo have now been to both too, scoring three goals on each occasion and taking all six points.
They’ve taken all three every time they've played so far, of course, and all of their rivals, not just Mark Quigley and co have quite a bit of ground to make up already. Raffaele Cretaro, Aaron Greene and, somewhat inevitably, Anthony Elding got the goals that brought victory this time, but in truth they could probably had another few if they’d really had to.
For their part, Bohemians enjoyed a decent amount of possession and played some nice football but they looked lightweight by comparison with Ian Baraclough’s men and scarcely troubled Gary Rogers whose first actual save was made in the second minute of stoppage time.
The home side’s task had always looked a tough one but the scale of the challenge grew hugely just a couple of minutes in when Cretaro was virtually gifted a goal. The striker did well to pursue an opportunity that looked to have gotten away. But a mix up between Roberto Lopes and Owen Heary, who should have cleared when the ball was at his feet, left it back at Cretaro’s and second time around, he took full advantage, coolly poking it between Dean Delany’s legs.
With the locals unnerved, Rovers then looked to push on with Cretaro consistently at the heart of things. Midway through the half he did really well to skip past a couple of opponents and might have set up a clearcut chance for Elding or Greene had he not decided to attempt a low shot from long range that flew harmlessly wide.
Greene showed how the whole shooting from outside the box thing should be done a little later with Bohemians, under pressure again, conceded a throw from which Ryan Connolly attempted to cross before Greene picked up possession with his back to goal. Despite the close attention of Stephen Traynor, he engineered just enough room to turn and power the ball in off the right hand post.
Bohemians, who had until then only occasionally strung a few passes together and had one real chance when Derek Pender’s fine through ball set up Kevin Devaney for a shot on the turn that flew the wrong side of the post, finally started to play a bit after the second goal. They built well from the back and played some confident stuff in midfield but still posed very little threat in the final third where the Rovers defence always looked well on top of things.
After the break, Aaron Callaghan tried to step things up a little and the balance of things did shift somewhat but Sligo were cruising really; all more so from the 71st minute when, from a Bohemians kick out, they broke forward through Lee Lynch who fed Cretaro down the right. From there he pretty much put it on a plate for Elding to head home his sixth goal in five league games.
What remained of the game lacked any sort of urgency with Rovers largely content to see things out as the hosts poked and prodded at them without ever really getting very far.
Ryan McEvoy, Luke Byrne and Traynor impressed at times but fresh legs up front and a change of shape aimed at generating more of a threat made little difference against a side that is currently making that notoriously difficult thing, the defence of a title, look awfully easy.