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Date Time League Season
21 July 2022 7:45 pm UEFA Europa Conference League 2022/23

Match Report

King Keena helps Sligo beat Motherwell in Europe

Aidan Keena proved to be the match winner, as Sligo Rovers took a huge one-goal margin back to the west, after a sensational performance in Scotland this evening.

It takes guts and determination to survive in Europe competitions. Sligo have shown both to date, and taking on a well-versed Motherwell team, they produced a masterclass ahead of their second leg.

Keena back to scoring on Scottish soil once more following numerous spells in the country, his poachers' instinct aiding the Bit O’Red again this evening, a big game next weekend to come.

Neither team dominated from the off as chances came at both ends, Will Fitzgerald flashed a shot just wide of the goal in the opening seconds, while Josh Morris forced Luke McNicholas into a stop just seconds later.

Sligo should have taken the lead in the ninth minute, Lewis Banks reacting well to a loose ball in the area, his shot from close range was somehow held onto by Liam Kelly, the Scottish showstopper expertly keeping it level.

The visitors were searching for their goal and managed to get their breakthrough from a huge error by Bevis Mugabi, the defender looking to head back a long through ball back to his keeper, he fluffed the pass and Aidan Keena stole possession and looped a chip shot over the onrushing keeper for a 1-0 lead, with 28 minutes on the clock. 

Rovers remained on top for a lot of the opening half, McNicholas having a stellar performance in the opening half, looking to be the new number one as Ed McGinty departed for Oxford, two fine stops late in the half ensured they remained on top at the interval.

Just four minutes after the restart McNicholas was brave to deny Kevin Van Veen from a 1v1, the Sligo stopper diving to the ground to keep the minnows ahead in this crucial tie, their backline including Garry Buckley deployed as a makeshift centre back doing well to snuff out the danger.

Ross Tierney looked dangerous after coming off the bench, the ex Bohs man looking to score against the Irish outfit, the ball fell to him in the 70th minute and a glorious chance saw him strike the side netting.

McNicholas was again tested from all angles by the steelmen, Max Mata had a great chance just off the bench to make it 2-0, he was set clear but failed to set himself right, a huge mistake from the New Zealand international as it looked a certain goal scoring opportunity. 

Late calls for a Sligo penalty as Mata had a header strike the arm of Motherwell defender Luke Carroll on route to goal, but the referee saw nothing and waved the protests away, it was the hands of McNicholas that kept Sligo ahead late on another great stop, ensured their advantage will give them hope in Sligo next week.

  • 95'

    Full Time at Fir Stadium as Sligo Rovers take a 1-0 win back to the Showgrounds next week

  • 90'

    Five minutes of added time in Fir Stadium

  • 85'

    Luke McNicholas with another fine stop

  • 85'

    Huge calls for a penalty late in this tie as Mata has a header strike the arm of Carroll

  • 77'

    Only on the field a matter of seconds, he has a huge chance but fails to get the ball out of his feet to hit the target

  • 77'

    Max Mata makes his way onto the field to replace Adam McDonnell

  • 75'

    Lewis Banks booked for time wasting

  • 66'

    Barry Maguire is carded after hacking down Keena

  • 65'

    Ross Tierney is on the field to replace Chris Shields

  • 49'

    McGinty who?, Luke McNicholas on hand to save 1 v1 as he does well to save and clear the danger

  • 45'

    Second half kicks off huge 45 minutes to come for Sligo

  • 45'

    Half Time in Scotland, Aidan Keena is the difference as Sligo lead 1-0 at the break

  • 44'

    A brilliant chance for the hosts on the stroke of half time, Conor Shields in the area but his effort goes wide

  • 34'

    McNicholas sharp to deny the hosts as the pressure continues to mount from their attack

  • 28'

    Bevis Mugabi makes a huge error in defence with a short pass back to his keeper, Keena intercepted and chipped the on-rushing goalkeeper Liam Kelly

  • 14'

    Shane Blaney the next player to go into the book

  • 9'

    Sligo should be ahead as Banks has a shot from close range, Kelly does so well to deny them what an amazing stop

  • 7'

    Jake Carroll is shown a yellow for a rash tackle as Sligo mount a counterattack

  • 2'

    Luke McNicholas tested early bats the ball out for a corner

  • 1'

    Less than a minute in and a half chance for Will Fitzgerald as he flashes a shot just wide

  • 1'

    Kick off in Fir Park, the pitch looks excellent

  • Just five minutes to kick off in Scotland this evening, atmosphere building

  • No place in the starting line-up for Ross Tierney this evening, he is named on the Motherwell bench, good news for them is that Kevin Van Veen has been passed fit to start

  • Ed McGinty has departed the Bit O Red, Luke McNicholas back between the sticks following on from his exploits last season, Adam McDonnell, Garry Buckley and Karl O'Sullivan all come back into their team

  • Sligo Rovers bid to remain in Europe but a tough away first leg against Motherwell is easier said than done, expected to be a great contest at Fir Park, my name is Diarmuid Kearney, and I will update you this evening

Motherwell

1Liam Kelly Goalkeeper
3Jake Carroll Defender 7'
4Ricki Lamie Defender
5Bevis Mugabi Defender
6Barry Maguire Midfielder 66'
7Blair Spittal 11 Midfielder
8Callum Slattery Midfielder
9Kevin van Veen Forward
16Paul McGinn Defender
23Josh Morris Midfielder
29Conor Shields Forward
12Scott Fox Goalkeeper
31Matthew Connelly Goalkeeper
2Stephen O’Donnell Defender
11Joseph Efford 7 Forward
15Sondre Solholm Johansen Defender
18Dean Corneilus Midfielder
26Ross Tierney Midfielder
27Sean Goss Midfielder
28Robbie Mahon Forward
35Sam Campbell Defender

Sligo Rovers

16Luke McNicholas Goalkeeper
2Lewis Banks Defender 75'
4Shane Blaney Defender 14'
7Will Fitzgerald Midfielder
8Niall Morahan Midfielder
9Aidan Keena Forward 28'
14Karl O’Sullivan Forward
17Adam McDonnell 27 Midfielder
19Paddy Kirk Defender
22David Cawley Midfielder
26Garry Buckley Midfielder
30Richard Brush Goalkeeper
40John Vahey Goalkeeper
5Robbie McCourt Defender
10Frank Liivak Forward
12Mark Byrne (Sligo) Midfielder
25Cillian Heaney Forward
27Max Mata 17 Forward
28Nando Pijnaker Defender
34Kailin Barlow Midfielder
41Eanna Clancy Defender
44Darragh McCarthy Midfielder

Ground

Fir Park
Fir Park, Edward Street, Knowetop, Motherwell, North Lanarkshire, Scotland, ML1 2QN, United Kingdom

Diarmuid Kearney is a freelance Sports Journalist based in Co Kerry. He has more than 5 years experience covering domestic and international soccer for different media organisations, while also working for local and national print and digital organisations covering GAA.