NW FOOTBALL: Midfielder Mullan makes it six goals in six matches

Roe Rovers Conor Mullan lining up a shot against Churchill on Saturday. INLV4915-249KDR
Roe Rovers Conor Mullan lining up a shot against Churchill on Saturday. INLV4915-249KDR

Roe Rovers played their first ever competitive game on the artificial surface at Scroggy Road on Saturday and they came away with a comfortable 3-0 victory over Churchill.

The Waterside men came with a stronger side the one that Rovers defeated 2-1 earlier in the season at Wilton Park.

Rovers bouyant after an excellent 3-0 win away to Ardmore Reserves where hit with the blow that three of that team where missing.

Deery and O’Brien who both scored last week and Toland all missed out through illness and work commitments but this gave a start to veteran striker Timmy Douglas, defender Jay Clyde and a first team competitive debut to 17-year-old Matty Brown.

The game was very stretched due to the vastness of the pitch and the blustery conditions meant the first half saw a lot of passes run too fast and escape players.

Churchill were happy to concede possession and get bodies behind the ball and sit and wait for a counter with King and Kyle waiting to break.

Rovers passed the ball reasonably well but in the final third lacked the final ball. Too often it was wind assisted or hit too hard or crossed too deep.

The best chance of the half was when Churchill worked a one on one chance to the right and keeper Cain Breslin did brilliantly to cut the angle and save.

The long ball for the counter attack however was very well dealt with by Jay Clyde and Tommy Hassan through the centre. Chris Doyle and Brendan McGonigle ensured there was no supply from wide areas.

Second half and Rovers went up another gear and as last week the opponents tired as they had to work so hard for the first hour without the ball.

Rovers midfield of Conor Mullan and Matty Hamilton have found a new level in recent weeks and took control of the game in the final half hour.

Paddy Logue, Darrel Mulgrew, Timmy Douglas and Jack McGonigle where tiring out the back line with their running power but still Churchill held strong and defended excellently.

Rovers made a tactical change, an unheard of one this season but they pressed left back Chris Doyle in behind the striker.

Doyle’s neat footwork and close tidy ball control and eye for goal or a final ball was the change needed as opposed to the pace and over hit attacks he was able to slow things down for a controlled final third.

This paid off when Doyle received a pass and jinked past a couple of players and then reversed a great through ball to Conor Mullan.

Mullan has found his best form scoring in each of the last five league games. He made it 6 in 6 when he latched onto the pass and dispatched it near post past the impressive keeper. A well worked attack and finish and Rovers had finally broke the stubborn resistance of a dogged Churchill after an hour.

The same combination made it 2-0 a ten minutes later this time a Doyle cross was headed home by Mullan again and the game was now in the bag for Rovers.

Young debutant Matty Brown then turned provider for the third.

Hamilton swept a great ball wide right and Brown progressed down the right side and then picked out the most perfect cross that left Mullan with the simplest of headers for his hat-trick.

A solid 3-0 win then for Rovers again and this takes them second with Burnfoot and Ardmore Reserves.

With no fixture this week due to cup games and the North West Cup the following week this game competes the League games for 2015 for the Limavady side, who on current form would have liked the year to run on a couple more games.