Baraclough: Composure was key to victory
Sligo Rovers manager Ian Baraclough hailed his side for keeping their composure to take three points in a dramatic 2-1 win against Limerick on Saturday night in The Showgrounds.
Rovers trailed 1-0 after Craig Curran’s goal in front of 2,311 spectators, until Anthony Elding struck right on half-time to level the game.
Jeff Henderson sealed the victory late in a hard-fought second half.
The Rovers boss said his players showed belief they could get back in the game after conceding the opening goal for the first time this season.
He said: “At half-time I thought we’d done brilliantly. They had one shot on target in the first half and scored from it. Don’t panic, don’t listen to fans that could get agitated.
“Keep playing the way you know and believe. You can score at any time and the players we have got in the side means we don’t have to panic. We can have patience and believe it is going to work and in the end it did.
“We went to watch Limerick against Cork, I had them watched again after that. They’ve got players that the lads have not seen before and they are a bit of an unknown quantity.
"They are a team with quality. They will get better during the season. I think they’ll be in the top three or four.
“I said to the lads yesterday when we were having a meeting yesterday about the game that they are not to be taken lightly at all. I think Stuart has them bang at it, got them organised and it’s a nice, refreshing change to see teams play here openly.”
Elding delighted the home crowd with another magnificent header for his fifth league goal in four games, proving crucial to Rovers going on to win the game.
Baraclough feels the manner his acquisition is taking the goals is a testament to his ability as a striker.
“He gets across the first man, he takes a gamble. You see his movement, people see him on the spot but the five seconds beforehand he is making two or three runs to try and lose a marker," the Rovers manager stated.
“It’s not a coincidence that he is on his own in the six yard box or in the box many, many times. That is the mark of a great striker.
“You don’t make one run, you try and take them somewhere else and that’s what he does. He comes alive when it is in there.”
Jeff Henderson hit the back of the net for the first time for Rovers as he was handed the chance to partner Evan McMillan in defence.
Gavin Peers was troubled with a minor knock and with no hesitation to deploy the former Newcastle United man, the manager said it showed why he showed faith in the 21-year-old.
“I wasn’t going to play a player that was 80% fit knowing I can trust someone that is waiting in the wings for his chance.
“He has come in, he looked solid, he didn’t look as if he was lacking fitness even though he has not been playing. It’s just perfect example of a professional looking after himself and waiting for his chance. I’m delighted he has popped up with a goal and listen, I’ll have decisions to make in the next couple of weeks.”
Four wins and a 100% record in the league is the best start Rovers have made to a league season since 1937 and it has been achieved despite the loss of several key players to injury.
Baraclough revealed Danny Ventre will soon return to the squad and spoke about players in reserve that are waiting for an opportunity, such as the one Henderson received this week.
“Danny Ventre is getting very, very close to being involved in games. It is just contact time now so his training will step up. Danny North is still a little while away, Joseph is a week or two weeks depending on when he takes his cast off wand hat extent they’ll allow him to play and what cast he has got.
“Gavin Peers was in before the game saying he was sure he could play and that’s the character of him. We weren’t going to take a chance, I made that decision yesterday and Jeff knew he was playing.
“Pascal has just been on international duty and he came back so he has done a lot of travelling. That is probably a reason why he wasn’t involved even though he was on the bench.
"Iarfhlaith Davoren has had another week’s training behind him. It’ll be a good tussle between him and Ross Gaynor for left-back. Liam Martin has done so well in pre-season as a young lad. I could have thrown him on for five minutes tonight but I didn’t think it was quite right.
“We were seeing the game out and it was difficult to ask someone to come in at that time. But they are all involved. There is a good atmosphere in there.
“There is always things you can improve on. There’ll be stuff there tonight that when I go and watch the game back tomorrow, that it’ll be something not quite right there or just point something out. When you’ve got games coming thick and fast, rest, recovery and prepare.
“This is a chance to point one or two things out. These last three or four weeks has not been a case of going on the training pitch and working on stuff. That was done pre-season.
"The fruits of having a good pre-season are showing now. “