Tuesday 24 April 2018

Pressure mounts on Stephen Bradley as Bray shock Shamrock Rovers

Bray Wanderers 1 Shamrock Rvs 0

Bray duo Hugh Douglas and Conor Kenna celebrate their victory over Shamrock Rovers. Photo: Sportsfile
Bray duo Hugh Douglas and Conor Kenna celebrate their victory over Shamrock Rovers. Photo: Sportsfile
Aidan Fitzmaurice

Aidan Fitzmaurice

The resolve of the Shamrock Rovers board, and support, will be tested after the Hoops slipped to a sixth defeat in 12 games in a season which is proving to be anything but memorable.

The band of Rovers supporters in the paltry attendance of 645 for last night's league game away to Bray Wanderers stuck around and applauded the Hoops players after a dreadful defeat to bottom side Bray - Ronan Coughlan netting the key goal on 53 minutes.

Bray's Corey Galvin keeps Shamrock Rovers' Ethan Boyle at bay. Photo: Sportsfile
Bray's Corey Galvin keeps Shamrock Rovers' Ethan Boyle at bay. Photo: Sportsfile

But three defeats in the last four, and six losses from 12 league matches, with this latest failure against a side who had lost their previous nine matches, will place a big question mark over the club and head coach Bradley.

Bradley has repeatedly insisted that Rovers were not expected to challenge for the league this season and the club have so far backed the 33-year-old, but losing half of their league games will lead to questions, as will Rovers being second best for long spells last night in a poor game.

Wanderers suffered a blow midway through the first half when one of their most experienced players, lone striker Aaron Greene, pulled up with an injury and was replaced by Daniel Kelly.

Brandon Miele forced a save, the first of the game, from Bray's Donegal-born keeper Aaron Dillon on the half-hour mark, and just before half-time Joel Coustrain did well to force a corner, Ethan Boyle going close with the resulting header.

Referee Tomas Connolly shows a red card to Shamrock Rovers' Dan Carr. Photo: Sportsfile
Referee Tomas Connolly shows a red card to Shamrock Rovers' Dan Carr. Photo: Sportsfile

A 0-0 draw here would have suited the home side, despite their lowly status at the foot of the table but there was more to come from Bray.

Seven minutes into the second half they were in front, with Coughlan alert as Ronan Finn played a poor back pass to keeper Dillon and Coughlan was there to score his first goal for Bray.

Rovers fans hoped for, demanded even, a reaction but it was Bray who remained in control and almost doubled their lead on 60 minutes - Gary McCabe forcing a good save from Horgan with a fierce drive.

The night took another bad turn for Rovers on 63 minutes when in-form striker Dan Carr was sent off for tripping opponent Rhys Gorman, a second bookable offence.

Bray manager Graham Kelly. Photo: Sportsfile
Bray manager Graham Kelly. Photo: Sportsfile

Leadership has been lacking in the Rovers side this season and Bradley's hope that, after the Bohs defeat, his players would show their true character out in Bray did not come to pass.

Horgan was called on again to save his side, denying a good effort from Bray sub Daniel Kelly, though Graham Burke was not far off with a shot four minutes from time.

Bray - Dillon; McKenna, Kenna, Douglas, Lynch; O'Conor, Gorman; Coughlan (Pender, 73), McCabe, Galvin (J Kelly, 88); Greene (D Kelly, 26).

Rovers - Horgan; Boyle, Grace, Gilchrist, S Kavanagh (B Kavanagh, 73); Coustrain (Shaw, 55), Bolger, Finn, Miele; Burke; Carr.

Ref - T Connolly

Bray's Corey Galvin rises above Shamrock Rovers' Ethan Boyle. Photo: Sportsfile
Bray's Corey Galvin rises above Shamrock Rovers' Ethan Boyle. Photo: Sportsfile

Irish Independent

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