NW FOOTBALL: Roe Rovers secure three points at neighbours Burnfoot

Roe Rovers Conor Mullan shields the ball during their win over Burnfoot on Saturday.
Roe Rovers Conor Mullan shields the ball during their win over Burnfoot on Saturday.

On a blustery, tight and bobbly pitch at Roemill Road, Roe Rovers played Burnfoot and it was always going to be a tense local derby with the home side in second spot and Rovers third, with games in hand.

The Limavady men had to make a late change as goalkeeper Cain Breslin fell ill and Paul Ferris replaced him between the sticks.

Rovers were still without Clyde, Carmichael, Logue, Mulgrew and Jack McGonigle and Burnfoot missed Simpson and Harkin so it was changes for both sides.

Burnfoot certainly started the better but Rovers got the first good chance when Finbar O’Brien, in his 50th game for the club, crossed to Conor Mullan, who probably had time to bring the ball down, but in the swirling wind he headed softly to George Somers arms.

Burnfoot went straight up the pitch and Adam Ritchie hit a shot goal bound for the bottom corner but his cousin in law Ferris in Rovers goal made a great save diving full length to save in the bottom right.

The home side had a breeze and swung in three dangerous corners that their strong height advantage caused problems.

Rovers almost took the lead after 10 minutes when Ciaran Deery slotted in Mullan who rounded the keeper and side footed goal wards but the covering defender did well to get back and clear.

Burnfoot took the lead in the 14th minute when another dangerous in-swinging corner from McGregor was headed home unchallenged in the six yard box.

Rovers didn’t panic and settled into the game and ten minutes later should have been level.

Ciaran Deery and Loughlian Toland combined well on the right and crossed for Mullan who headed wide.

Rovers came even closer on the half hour mark when Deery got to the by-line and crossed and Finbar O’Brien headed against the crossbar.

The visitors equalised just before the break when Brendan McGonigle saw his left wing centre beat everyone in the box but Mullan was arriving late at the back of the box and side footed a volley from 12 yards back to the top corner on the left.

Rovers took the lead right on the stroke of half-time, when Jay Clyde played a great through ball to McGonigle who got to the bye-line on the right this time and drilled a low cross into the edge of the six yard area and Finbar O’Brien darted in and with a cute finished clipped the ball past Somers.

Rovers made it 3-1 and effectively ended the game as a contest on 55 minutes when Chris Doyle played the pass of the game into McGonigle, he showed some super skill as his first time shot on the turn caught out the unfortunate Somers.

Burnfoot tried hard to make their size count and peppered Rovers’s box on several occasions but Chris McInnes and Jay Clyde and Tommy Hassan dealt with everything thrown at them.

Rovers shaded it and got their seventh win in the First Division on the bounce to keep them in the title hunt.

Credit to both teams in difficult conditions and played in a sporting manner without a booking in sight.