Sunday 25 February 2018

Stevens insists Bit O'Red poised for title fightback

Sligo Rovers 5, UCD 2

Sligo Rovers' fans waited over 400 minutes for a goal, then five came along at once.

The Bit O'Red re-ignited their title defence thanks to a resounding defeat of UCD at the Showgrounds and in the process hit the net for the first time in five league games.

It still leaves them four points behind leaders St Pat's, but assistant boss Gary Stevens says the team are nicely positioned. "Our destiny is in our own hands," Stevens said.

"We're in contention halfway through the season and we are in touch. Everything is to play for and I think we are in a nice position."

Goals from David Cawley, Aaron Greene, Kieran Djilali and Joseph Ndo helped Rovers come from behind to defeat the Students, with the fifth coming off the unlucky Liam Traynor.

David McMillan had given the visitors the lead inside the opening two minutes, and substitute Dean Clarke also found the net but the league's leakiest defence conceded five for the second game in a row.

UCD boss Martin Russell insists his side will continue to play positive football, even if it leaves them exposed at the back.

"We don't want to shut up shop. We want these lads to be the best they can be. It is hard to get the balance right while these players are in their development," Russell said.

"It is the youngest squad we have had since I have been here and you have got to be realistic and patient, and to try and encourage them."

Sligo Rovers – Rogers, Keane, Peers, Henderson, Davoren, Ndo, Cawley (Connolly 76), Conneely, Djilali, Martin (Gaynor 74), Greene (North 61).

UCD – O'Donnell, Matthews (Traynor 37), Douglas, O'Connor, Russell, Walsh, Burke (Corcoran 61), Creevy, Benson, O'Halloran (Clarke 61), McMillan.

Ref – P Sutton

Irish Independent

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