Wednesday 21 March 2018

Sligo victory fails to satisfy Baraclough

WINNING the League of Ireland title can have all sorts of strange implications.

Events at the Showgrounds on Saturday proved exactly that as Sligo Rovers outfoxed Bray Wanderers only to find that few plaudits followed their three-goal triumph.

Crafty manager Ian Baraclough was commendably honest in his post-match assessment, admitting that he was disappointed, despite registering a deserved triumph – even if the final scoreline was a tad flattering.

"We didn't swamp Bray enough," he said. "We didn't close the ball down enough as well as we can do with the enthusiasm we can play with.

"That was made fully aware to them at half-time.

"We could have been better, simple as that. We have come out of it with a 3-0 win, but, for me, there was a lot of stuff we could have done better."

Sligo were frustrated for vast chunks of the opening period as Bray defended in resilient fashion.

The Bit O'Red passed the ball carefully, but they didn't carve too many opportunities until Lee Lynch pounced to punish a lapse in concentration by Bray defender Dave Webster in the 39th minute.

Raffaele Cretaro put Lynch away on the right and his crisp cross was bundled home by Anthony Elding.

After the restart, Bray examined Sligo with custodian Gary Rogers making two splendid reflex saves.

Then, in the closing stages, Elding nodded home a Ross Gaynor cross before substitutes Aaron Greene and Kieran Djilali combined in stoppage time, with the latter converting the third goal.

Baraclough admitted that his players were reminded of their responsibilities at the interval.

"We can and should deal with expectations," he added. "We dealt with a lot of expectation building throughout last season.

"Maybe at half-time I was harsh on them, but it doesn't hurt them when they are told a few home truths. We could have been better, simple as that.

Bray boss Pat Devlin felt his team ought to have earned something from the trip west. "I was disappointed for the lads because, even though we didn't play particularly well, we didn't deserve to be beaten by three."

SLIGO ROVERS – Rogers; Keane, Peers (Henderson 89), McMillan, Gaynor; Cawley, Lynch, Conneely; Cretaro (Djilali 60), Elding, Connolly (Greene 68).

Bray Wanderers – Quigley; Hyland, Webster, D O'Connor, Knight; Waters, Dempsey, K O'Connor (Mulroy 72), Zambra, Doyle (O'Neill 80); Byrne (Akinade 72).

REF – D Tomney (Dublin).

Irish Independent

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