March 31, 2012
Stephen Kenny still appears to be searching for a system and a preferred starting eleven as Shamrock Rovers continue to enjoy their early season form. Kenny’s project at Tallaght Stadium is clearly still a work in progress, yet Rovers’ clear superiority over many teams in the league is what has allowed them to emerge from many early season fixtures with preferable results.
Against Bohemians, Shamrock Rovers dominated much of the game’s possession, but were unable to take the lead until the 78th minute courtesy of a terrific goal, engineered by the impressive Ronan Finn and finished majestically by the emphatic Gary Twigg. Rovers then doubled their lead on 93 minutes through Billy Dennehy as Bohemians had left themselves exposed in their search for a late equaliser.
Throughout the game, Shamrock Rovers new boy, Aaron Greene and the exciting Karl Moore were under SC1 Sports’ spotlight.
Shamrock Rovers began the game in a 4-2-3-1 formation, with Aaron Greene, Ronan Finn (who looked much more comfortable in an attacking role in this system) and Billy Dennehy starting on the left, centre and right respectively, of the attacking midfield 3. Whilst it was possible to discern Greene’s role as a left-winger in the opening stages, throughout the game, he switched positions with both Finn and Dennehy, giving Rovers’ attack a sense of fluidity.
In relation to Greene, many of Rovers’ attacks were instigated from the wing opposite to that which he occupied. As a result, he often used this opportunity to get into the penalty box to provide support to Gary Twigg. This wasn’t to say that Greene never got involved in build-up play himself, because he did, and on 22 minutes he drove a great pass from the left-hand side across the penalty area into the path of Twigg, who smashed the ball passed McNulty in the Bohemians goal. However, the goal was chalked off as the ball struck Twigg’s hand before he got his shot off.
Greene showed a willingness throughout the half contribute defensively in consistently tracking back. Although penetrative Bohemians attacks were few and far between, this willingness was necessary to protect Killian Brennan, who played out of position at left-back.
In the second half more attacks generated down Greene’s flanks, yet he was largely ineffective. This was largely due to the fact that he was dealt with efficiently by Owen Heary, but poor crossing also played a part as Greene completed 0/5 of attempted crosses in the second half.
Karl Moore operated largely on the left-hand side of Bohemians 4-5-1 formation. In the early stages of the game it was noticeable that Moore and Pender, who played on the right-wing, sat very deep in the early stages, essentially allowing Shamrock Rovers to keep possession effortlessly in their own half. A sign of Rovers’ early dominance is that Moore did not attempt a pass or a dribble until the 9th minute.
Moore was very quiet for much of the first half, yet on 23 minutes he delivered a great cross from the left-hand side that was met by Adam Martin who headed over.
Defensively, Moore was quite poor. He was successful in 0/3 tackles in the first half and lacked composure in defensive areas at times. On 24 minutes he lost possession of the ball near the corner flag when he had ample time to deal with it. As a result he was forced to concede a free-kick in a dangerous area.
In the second half, Moore was uninvolved until the 53rd minute, yet when he did become involved in the game he showed himself to be very effective. On 53 minutes, after a good run into the box he managed to get a shot on target from a tight angle. Just one minute later, Moore turned into space 25 yards from goal and found the target with another shot, yet Jansson was equal to it. Moore’s duel with Jansson continued on 58 minutes as the two competed for a 50/50 challenge as Moore attempted to latch onto a long ball. Jansson’s timing needed to be perfect and fortunately for the Swede, it was.
Moore was the architect behind yet another one of Bohemians’ chances on 69 minutes as after running at Kerrea Gilbert down the left-hand side he found Martin with a cross, who again, could only shoot wide.
In the dying minutes of the game, Callaghan switched Moore over to the right wing, but Rovers’ domination of the closing minutes meant that he had little effect in this position. It would have been interesting to see him play a larger spell of the game in this position given how Rovers set up with Brennan and Greene (for the most part) operating down the left flank. In one sense, Callaghan may have considered this too much of a risk given how much of an attacking threat Brennan could have been from left-back, yet similarly, Moore could have seriously exposed Brennan’s defensive insufficiencies.
Insofar that it was Derek Pender (who is a right-back by trade) that was paired up with Killian Brennan, it seems as though Aaron Callaghan didn’t think this was a risk worth taking.
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