Sligo Rovers knocked local rivals Finn Harps out of this season’s EA Sports Cup after a 1-0 at Finn Park, Ballybofey last night.
The win was over-shadowed by injuries to three Finn Harps players BJ Banda, Packie Mailey and goalkeeper Harry Doherty.
The winning goal was scored by 19 year-old striker Mathew Stevens late on in extra-time, after the game ended 0-0 after ninety minutes.
Afterwards match-winner Stevens spoke to us about the game and said, “It was a very difficult place to make your first start this season but I was very excited and happy to have the opportunity to do so.”
“The game itself went very well for us, while also having a few young players playing, but all of them did very well and didn’t look out of place.”
“I think as the game went on we started to take over possession and looked dangerous on the attack.”
He also spoke about the incident in which Harps goalkeeper Doherty got injured, “Then there was the incident with the goal keeper and the centre half clashing heads after young player Jack Keeney ran onto a through ball, coming of better than the other two players. It was one of the worst head clashes I’ve seen on a football pitch, but I hear today there both ok. It wasn’t nice waiting around for twenty-five minutes, but when the game kicked off again we took full control having loads of possession and good opportunities to score.”
On his goal, Stevens said, “Then in the 115th minute the goal finally came from a perfect cross from Dan Kearns, with me running onto it and putting past the keeper to make it 1-0. It was a great moment for me having thought I should have been giving the opportunity to start earlier in the season.”
“All in all clean sheet a winning goal and through to the next round come on you rovers.”
We also had a chat with Sligo’s Assistant coach Brian Dorrian, and he was quick to pass on his best wishes to Finn Harps injured players saying, “Great to win the game but it was over shadowed by the three injuries to the Harps lads, which certainly puts the game into perspective. It was terrible to see when it happened, and a sight that you never want to see at any sporting game. Hopefully the lads will be back soon as possible and we sent our best wishes to them all.”
“Regarding the match we made several changes like Harps did. Very positive for me to see three of the U-19’s start with two others on the bench.”
“There wasn’t a lot in the match as each team cancelled each other out.”
“It was a great time to score with a few minutes to go, great work by Daniel Kearns and a top finish by Mathew Stevens and how he lost his marker and headed it home.”
Dorrian was full of praise for goal-scorer Stevens, “Mathew has come in on loan this year and has blended in very well with the panel. Last night was his first start and that along with his goal will no doubt give him a lot of confidence going forward. We move on now to the Derry match at home on Saturday which is a massive match for us.”