Date: 7:45 p.m. March 20, 2010
Venue: The Showgrounds
Eoin Doyle 64' -
Sligo started the game minus Paul Whelan, who pulled out of the squad at late notice while Sean Connor had a full selection of players to choose from ahead of the game. The injury to Whelan was accommodated by Ventre slipping back to right back while Mark Doninger made his first league start for Sligo Rovers. Galway also made one change from the side that defeated Bray last week, with Stephen O'Donnell replacing Gary Curran in the centre of the Galway midfield.
The game opened with Padraig Amond having the opportunity to put Rovers ahead early on, but his header fell straight to Barry Ryan. It wasn't long 'til Amond was the focus of the crowd's attention again, as he seemed to be fouled by Thomas Heary from behind inside the box. The referee wasn't interested in the home crowd's pleas however and waved play on, giving Heary the benefit of the doubt.
Galway then started to edge into the game, with both Derek O'Brien and Bobby Ryan coming close to opening the scoring from the approximately 20 yards out on two separate occasions, with Ryan's shot attracting a rather appreciative "Oooh" from the crowd.
On the 29th minute, Eoin Doyle should have opened the scoring when he was one on one with Barry Ryan. Doyle was coming in from the right, with support from Amond to his left, and tried to square the ball when he really should have shot instead of passing to Amond who was in an offside position.
On the resumption of the game, Sligo looked to turn the screw on the Galweigians, but chances still fell to the side in Maroon, albeit from very long range. Jason Molloy and Jason Sheppard both shot on the Galway goal, with Molloy hitting the top of the crossbar with his effort.
Rovers had chances through Amond and Doninger, but it was Doyle who made amends for his earlier miss by scoring on the 64th minute. The ball was swung in high by substitute John Dillon, and nodded back across the goal by Matthew Blinkhorn to Amond, who attempted a bicycle kick. Amond failed in his acrobatic attempt but Doyle was behind him to smash the roof of the net to make his tally four from his last five games for Rovers.
Galway piled on the pressure late in the game but truth be told similar to Shamrock Rovers two weeks ago, they never looked like troubling Richard Brush aside from maybe a set-piece. They had the shout for that set piece, a penalty namely in injury time, when Stephen O'Donnell went down in the opposition area. However, just as the game opened with a penalty claim being dismissed, it ended with one too, as Declan Hanney told O'Donnell to get up.
Throughout the game, chances proved hard to find, and both sides struggled to give create clear chances for their strikers to convert. The key to Sligo winning this game were the substitutions made late on, with Conor O'Grady steadying the Sligo midfield, while Dillon provided that extra bit of attacking nous needed to break down the Galway defence.
Sligo Rovers: Brush; Ventre (c), Peers, Keane, Davoren; McCabe (Dillon 53), Doninger (Almeida 81), Ryan (O'Grady 58), Doyle; Blinkhorn, Amond.
Subs not used: Feeney, Kelly.
Galway United: Ryan (c); Conneely, Heary, MacKenzie, Meynell; Ryan, Foley (Curran 73), O'Donnell, O'Brien; Molloy (Creaney 69), Sheppard.
Subs not used: King, McBrien, Sinnott.
Referee: Declan Hanney (Dublin).
extratime.ie Man of the Match: Padraig Amond (Sligo Rovers)