Friday 23 February 2018

Baraclough: Sligo must be ruthless

Sligo Rovers 1 Bray Wanderers 1

Sligo Rovers manager Ian Baraclough insists his side must up their game if they are to maintain their title challenge.

Rovers had to come from behind to draw with Bray at the Showgrounds on Saturday and Baraclough has warned his players that every point they get will have to be earned for the rest of the season.

"Nobody is going to come to the Showgrounds and make it easy for us. If you are going to win something and achieve something you have to go and earn it with hard work and professionalism. You have to take your chances when they come," he said.

"We had a lot of the play. We had a lot of chances flash across the face of goal and saw a lot of ball go into the box, but we just couldn't find the finishing touch.

"We had great chances to go and win it after getting back into the game pretty much straight away after Bray scored.

"I'm disappointed we have dropped two points. Our passing, intensity and positivity was not quite there. If it had been, we could have got all three points."

Alan Keane's first goal of the season at least prevented a disaster for Rovers, the full-back racing forward and showing impressive composure in the area to fire into the corner shortly after the hour mark.

That cancelled out yet another goal from Bray's scoring machine, Jason Byrne. The striker uncharacteristically fired a weak shot at the legs of Rovers 'keeper Gary Rogers when presented with a great chance in the opening half.

But he made no mistake second time around, seizing on a miskick from Iarfhlaith Davoren to clinically finish to the net off the post after 49 minutes.

It was his 12th goal of the season and boss Pat Devlin was again full of praise for his hitman, though he was surprised to see him fluff his lines with the first chance.

"It is very unlike him, once he is in or around the box, you'd fancy him to score. But if you look at the one he took, it was a fantastic finish. That's why he has been a leading goalscorer for so many years and he is a massive asset to us," he said.

Raffaele Cretaro had the best chance of the first half, curling a shot off the post on 27 minutes after a neat turn in the area.

But Bray deserved a point, although they finished the game with just nine players. Centre-back Adam Mitchell was sent off for a second yellow when he hauled down Danny North late on and John Mulroy had to go off after he picked up an injury defending a last-minute corner, with Bray having used up all their substitutions.

Sligo Rovers -- Rogers, Keane, Peers, Ventre, Davoren, Boco, Cawley, Ndo (Conneely 80), Gaynor (Millien 59), Cretaro (Quigley 59), North.

Bray Wanderers -- Quigley, S O'Connor, Mitchell, D O'Connor, Massey, Hanlon (Doyle 74), K O'Connor, Mulroy, Waters (Knight 77), Zambra, Byrne (King 86).

Ref -- G Kelly (Cork).

Irish Independent

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