Tuesday 20 March 2018

Djilali and Ndo wonder strikes keep champions on league leaders' tails

UCD 0 Sligo Rovers 3

Jamie Moore

Sligo Rovers' hopes of retaining the league title are still alive after their victory at the UCD Bowl.

Two goal of the season contenders secured the win, Kieran Djilali and Joseph Ndo scoring with brilliant second-half strikes before Danny North added a late third.

Anything less than a win and Sligo's title hopes would have been over, but the reigning champions did the business and remain five points behind leaders St Pat's, whom they have still to play.

This win brings Ian Baraclough's team to within two points of second- placed Dundalk, while UCD will still be looking over their shoulders. Although they have a cushion of six points over bottom side Shelbourne and are five ahead of Bray, Martin Russell will be looking for another win to ensure survival for his improving team.

After a disappointing first half, the opening goal came in the 50th minute. Aaron Greene's poor cross was cleared but it broke to Djilali and his dipping shot flew into the top corner.

Fifteen minutes later Ndo celebrated his 100th appearance for Sligo by curling an in-swinging corner straight into the far top corner – a goal UCD 'keeper Ger Barron won't look back on with fond memories.

North made it 3-0 in the 89th minute, tapping in from close range after good play and a pin-point cross from Greene.

UCD had two early opportunities from corners. First Robbie Creevy's glancing effort with the inside of his foot was blocked and then Sean Russell's curling effort was easily saved by Gary Rogers.

Sligo's first effort of note came in the 19th minute when Iarfhlaith Davoren shot wide from a good position.

This game also had a contender for miss of the season and only North will be able to tell us how he didn't score.

Barron sliced a clearance straight to Greene and his cross found North unmarked inside the six-yard box, but his effort was brilliantly headed off the line by Hugh Douglas.

UCD – Barron; Douglas, Leahy, D O'Connor, Langtry; Clarke (Burke 66), Walsh, Creevy (Belhout 60), McCabe, Russell; Morrison.

Sligo Rovers – Rogers; Keane, Peers, Henderson, Davoren; Djilali, Ventre, N'Do (Conneely 75), Lynch (D McMillan 75) Greene (Martin 88); North.

Ref – R Rogers (Dublin)

Irish Independent

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