Sligo fail to turn possession into goals as Bray stand firm
Bray Wanderers 0 Sligo Rovers 0THE TITLE race was opened back up ever so slightly at the Carlisle Grounds last night where Sligo Rovers simply couldn’t find a way to turn all their possession into three points against a Bray Wanderers side that worked relentlessly to keep the Premier League leaders at bay.
Rovers dominated more or less from beginning to end but it was still their goalkeeper, Gary Rogers, who had to make the game’s two best saves late in the opening half as Jason Byrne and Kieran “Marty” Walters threatened to grab a goal against the run of play for Pat Devlin’s side.
At the other end, the visitors were endlessly frustrated with Mark Quigley roaming deep and wide in order to be involved in things but nobody, it seemed, providing the presence up front that just might have yielded a goal.
“We couldn’t expect to simply come here and roll them over,” said Sligo rovers manager Ian Barraclough afterwards.
“But we’re a point closer to where we want to be.
“In the end, we’ve created chance after chance but sometimes you just have to accept that it’s not going to go in for you.”
The would-be champions built solidly from the back all night and Joseph Ndo, Raffaele Cretaro and David Cawley all had their moments in what was, by and large, a good team performance. Bray’s discipline in front of their own area paid dividends, however, while the visitors also seemed to run out of ideas a little late on.
Rovers supporters, to be fair, reckoned they should have two penalties over the course of the first half and there was a case to made on each occasion.
Referee Paul Buttimer seemed to feel that Mark Quigley had gone down far too easily when trying to go past Danny O’Connor in the first instance, however, and that Dane Massey had, perhaps, got more of the ball appeared to be the case as Cretaro looked set to sweep past the left back.
Barraclough was clear afterwards, insisting that he didn’t need to see any replays.
“They were both penalties, especially the one on Raffa which was stonewall.
“Whether it’s about feeling sorry for the home side because they’re scrapping at the bottom for points or wanting to make it interesting for the run-in by not giving it to Sligo, I don’t know, but it was down to his decisions.”
For all of that, Sligo made little of the succession of corners they earned over the course of the night with a Jeff Henderson shot that bounced a couple of feet over as good as it got.
On one of the few occasions they really opened up their opponents with a passing move from midfield, Séamus Conneely’s low-angled cross ran just beyond the outstretched leg of David Cawley and behind for the goal-kick.
It didn’t get any better as the night wore on really with Quigley missing the target with a couple of long-range efforts and Cawley forcing one good save from Darren Quigley seven minutes from time.
BRAY WANDERERS: Quigley; S O’Connor, D O’Connor, Mitchell, Massey; Multoy (Hanlon, 84 mins), Doyle, Zambra, Waters; Byrne, Houston.
SLIGO ROVERS: Rogers; Conneely, Henderson (Connolly 85 mins), McGuinness, Gaynor; Ventre (Millien, 71 mins); Cretaro, Ndo, Cawley, Lynch; Quigley.
Referee: A Buttimer (Cork).