Sligo Rovers manager Ian Baraclough was delighted, as were the fans, by the manner of last Friday’s home defeat of Shelbourne. The outcome, ahead of the away test against UCD last night Monday, which Rovers surprisingly lost 1-0, kept the Airtricity League Premier Division leaders in a healthy position.Speaking after his side’s second successive 3-0 home win, Baraclough was pleased that Rovers passing game eventually paid dividends, citing that visitors Shelbourne were always a threat when the game was locked at 0-0.
“In the first-half I don’t think we passed with a tempo and it was tight. But in the second-half there was a bit more purpose about us and we got our rewards.”
“At 0-0 it was tight and you could see Shelbourne nicking it from a set-piece or a breakaway, something like that.”
“I felt we were a little bit open and not on our game, especially after the previous weekend [the game against Shamrock Rovers],” he told Darragh Cox of Ocean FM.
He continued: “We knew Shelbourne would make it difficult. Alan [Matthews] always has his teams well-organised. They have some dogged players and they stuck to their task.”
“I thought they [Shelbourne] were very good against UCD, even with 10 men, and UCD couldn’t break them down,” said Baraclough, referring to Shelbourne’s 2-0 win against UCD the same weekend Rovers were putting Shams to the sword.
“I knew the first goal would be critical and it would open the game up but, still, we had to get a second and third to put them to bed.”
Baraclough was thrilled by the latest contribution from prolific top scorer Danny North, who netted twice to increase his goals’ tally to 14 in all competitions and 13 in the Premier Division.
“We got a goal from nothing, first and foremost, Danny [North] getting in behind but the second goal from Danny had a touch of class about it.”
“It was a move with a cutting edge – a great run by Danny and a great ball from ‘Quigs’ [Mark Quigley] and he [North] slotted it lovely.”
The manager revealed that both goalscorer North and goal creator Quigley were in doubt for the tie at The Showgrounds due to injury and illness respectively.
This was a game that Joseph Ndo and Ross Gaynor missed.
North’s value as an out-and-out goalscorer, an asset that every team chasing silverware needs, was explained by Baraclough.
“If you put Danny North in those areas and find him with passes, invariably he will hit the target and make the goalkeeper work.”
“In the first-half [against Shelbourne] we weren’t finding him enough, there wasn’t enough regularity about it. But in the second-half I felt he could have gone in almost at will at times,” he added.
Meanwhile, Baraclough prepares for his first FAI Ford Cup tie this Friday as Rovers, winners of the famed competition in 2010 and 2011, begin the defence of their crown against Premier Division strugglers Monaghan United at The Showgrounds (kick-off 7.45pm).