Sligo Rovers sailed through to the semi-final of the EA Sports Cup on Tuesday evening thanks to a 4-0 victory over last year’s winners Derry City. Braces from Raffaele Cretaro and Danny North sent the Candystripes home licking their wounds.
Speaking to ExtraTime.ie after the game, Sligo Rovers manager Ian Baraclough was in high spirits.
“I’m delighted with the result but more importantly the performance. It was pleasing to go and put Derry to the sword,” he said.
“When you’ve got a team at 1-0, when you’re playing as well as you are, you’ve got to go and kill them off. At 1-0 they started to get into the game, it’s difficult if they get one back. You saw against Monaghan at home in the cup, it’s difficult to get the momentum going again.
“I was delighted when I saw the second one going in and then we stepped it up again. There was a 15 or 20 minute period where they could have scored where we lost concentration. We stopped working to receive the ball. Apart from that, I was really, really delighted with the performance.”
Tubbercurry man Raffaele Cretaro was the sponsor’s and Extratime’s man of the match and the former Scunthorpe manager was delighted with his performance.
Baraclough said: “I’m really, really pleased. I’m not going to single anybody out. He’s been frustrated and he’s now got his rewards for working hard.
“I said to him at half-time, ‘just pull the trigger at times’, because you never know what happens. He gets the first one in the second-half on his left foot and it goes in and it just shows you.
“Then all of a sudden the shackles are off. I thought him and Danny North worked very well together.”
In the second half, Derry struggled to deal with Sligo’s shape and tactics and Gary Rogers was rarely troubled in goal. The Bit o’Red boss said that an altered shape helped them claim the victory.
“We worked on a different shape to make us more competitive in the middle area and not too wide open with the full-backs driving forward to really make an impact.
“I thought Dav (Iarfhlaith Davoren) and Rommy (Romauld Boco) went and did that. If Dav goes forward it means someone like Ross Gaynor realises that and he can fill in for him and he’s comfortable at left-back too.”
Cameroon international Joseph Ndo made his return from injury after he sustained a knee injury against St. Patrick’s Athletic in April. He played a huge part in the victory and his manager was full of praise.
“He just brings a calmness into the team. He wants possession in the middle in tight areas. He gives everyone around him a boost. If we are hitting a sticky patch he’s on to go and give them a ball. He controls the tempo really well.
“When we lose a ball he’s working as hard as everybody else to win it back. It’s good to have him back because it increases competition for places.
“It makes it twice as hard for me to pick a team. But with competition, people know they have to play well, train well to stay in the team and get in the side.”
Sligo Rovers were due to play Monaghan United on Saturday night but because of Mons pulling out of the league, the league leaders did not have a game.
Baraclough was satisfied with his team’s first performance after the summer break.
“You can see the game got called off on Saturday,” he said. “It was a disappointment because you’re ready to go and all of a sudden it’s taken away.
“We had not won for three games, we’ve gone and dealt with that. We’ve done a job on a decent Derry team.”