Homepage image by John Doyle
Elding Shines As Rovers Run Riot
Reigning Airtricity League Champions Sligo Rovers got their 2013 campaign underway in style with a comprehensive 5-0 victory over Glentoran in the first leg of their Setanta Sports Cup quarter final at the Showgrounds. Goals from debutantes Anthony Elding and Evan McMillan, a brace from Lee Lynch and a first competitive strike from Ryan Connolly gave the Bit 'O Red an easy win.
It took Ian Baraclough's men just over two minutes to take the lead. Elding picked up the ball just outside the area and slipped a clever pass into Lynch who smashed it beyond a helpless Elliott Morris in the Glentoran goal.
Rovers had the ball in the net again two minutes later as Elding was this time on the receiving ending of a pass from Lynch, however his neat finish was ruled out for offside.
The Bit O' Red were totally dominant at this stage and a piece of hesitation from right back Colin Nixon almost allowed a confident-looking Elding in again. This time however the ex-Preston man shot over.
The forward's debut goal eventually came on 20 minutes as he headed home Lynch's cross from the left.
The Northern team looked totally out of their depth and the third goal came as a surprise to no-one. David Cawley and Joseph Ndo exchanged passes in the centre of midfield before the Mayo man burst brilliant beyond the Glentoran backline and crossed for Connolly to poke the ball home.
There was time for one more before the break; this time it was Connolly who crossed from the left and saw his ball flicked on by the outstanding Elding to Lynch who buried his strike to claim his second.
The sides went into half time with the game already over as a contest and there was even more to cheer for the Rovers faithful at half time as the club announced the signing of midfielder Kieran Djilali. The ex-Crystal Palace and AFC Wimbledon man received a rousing reception as he was introduced to the crowd; he signs on a one year deal.
Seven minutes into the second period Evan McMillan got in on the goal scoring action. The new man came up for a corner which was cleared as far as Ndo. The veteran's cross was powered home by the centre half.
The Westerners could afford to take their foot off the gas and make some changes, with Raffaele Cretaro and Pascal Millien replacing Elding and Ndo.
Sligoman Cretaro had a chance on 78 minutes as he broke between the centre of the Glentoran defence and controlled a ball over the top from Gavin Peers. However he blazed his shot over.
Another substitute Liam Martin, who had replaced the returning Aaron Greene, had a long range shot scooped behind by Morris.
Glens did manage a couple of half chances late on. Nixon broke down the right and squared an awkward ball into the Sligo area which Alan Keane scooped over his own bar on 86 minutes.
A couple of minutes later the same player shot over, before Calum Birney - who was probably Glentoran's best player on the night - squared for substitute Waterworth whose effort was tame and straight at Gary Rogers.
In the end, it was a totally dominant victory for Baraclough's side against what was an under strength Glentoran outfit. The manager will be particularly pleased with his new acquisitions - especially Elding who put in a man of the match performance.
Sligo Rovers will travel to Belfast for the second leg next week full of confidence.
Sligo Rovers: Gary Rogers; Alan Keane, Gavin Peers (c), Evan McMillan, Ross Gaynor; Lee Lynch, David Cawley, Joseph Ndo (Pascal Millien 62'), Aaron Greene (Liam Martin '72), Ryan Connolly; Anthony Elding (Raffaele Cretaro 62')
Subs Not Used: Adam Murphy, Jeff Henderson, Iarfhlaith Davoren, Adam Murphy, Marty Owens
Glentoran: Elliott Morris; Colin Nixon, Kevin Bradley, Calum Birney, Jason Hill; Jim O'Hanlon, Martin Murray (Daniel Burns 75'), John McGuigan, Steven McAlorum, Jim Callacher (Richard Clarke 68'); Karl McComb (Andrew Waterworth 58').
Subs Not Used: Aaron Hogg
Referee: Ray Crangle.
Extratime Man of the Match: Anthony Elding (Sligo Rovers).