Rovers dominant against Harps

November 8, 2018

Goals from Gavin Peers, Gary Curran, Romuald Boco and Raffaele Cretaro saw the cash-strapped Bit O’ Red push their Donegal guests back into the bottom three, with Harps playing the second half with just ten men.

Peers opened the scoring by heading home Sean Doherty’s inswinging cross on eight minutes.

They were two goals to the good on 19 minutes, when Curran, making his first start of the season as a replacement for the suspended Conor O’Grady, latched onto Chris Butler’s long throw into the area, and finished well past James Gallagher.

Harps almost got themselves back into the game just before the Curran strike, when Shaun Holmes sent a stinging free-kick goalwards from 30 yards.

Rovers ‘keeper Richard Brush could only palm the ball out in front of him, but Shaun McGowan headed over from close range under pressure from Danny Ventre.

Harps’ hopes of finding a way back into the game took a severe setback just before the break, when striker Stephen Parkhouse was sent off.

The striker was yellow carded by referee Neil Doyle for a foul on Curran, and he reacted by slamming the ball off the turf – earning himself a second booking for dissent in the process.

With five players having left an already small squad due to the club’s financial problems, Rovers’ boss Paul Cook was left with just ten senior outfield players fit and available.

This became nine when striker Matthew Judge was taken to hospital with a suspected broken nose after he was caught by Marc Mukendi.

Local youngster Mikey Creane, one of four A team members named on the Rovers bench, came on in Judge’s place.

Harps made a change of their own at half-time, with Kevin Ramsey replacing Conor Gethins and playing as a lone striker, but Rovers picked up where they left off after the restart.

Cretaro sent a low cross flying across the face a goal, but nobody could get the vital touch and Harps escaped.

Two minutes later, a Chris Butler delivery caused Harps similar problems after some great build-up play by Rovers, but Cretaro’s final shot hit the side-netting.

Nevertheless Rovers did claim the decisive third when Creane put Jonathan Minnock under pressure, and fed Boco, whose shot took a slight deflection on its way past Gallagher.

Harps, who have now conceded more than any other team in the Premier Division, failed to create a real chance of note in the second period, with David Tyrell sending a free harmlessly into the arms of Brush, and Neil McCafferty shooting well wide from outside the area.

Cretaro rounded off the win on 74 minutes, when he cut in from the right and shot into the bottom corner off his left foot, though Harps did claim a late consolation goal through Shaun McGowan.

Sligo Rovers: Brush, Cretaro (Noctor 86), Peers, Almeida, Butler, Curran (Kelly 75), Ventre (captain), Cash, Doherty, Boco, Judge (Creane 27).

Subs not used: Jennings, Greene.

Finn Harps: Gallagher, Funston, Holmes (captain), Minnock, Mukendi, McCafferty, Breen (Friel 63), McGowan, Parkhouse, Tyrell, Gethins (Ramsey HT).

Subs not used: Gill, Brolly, Cullen.

Referee: Neil Doyle.

report courtesy