Head to head: Rovers v Bray

 

As Sligo Rovers face Bray Wanderers this Saturday at 7:45pm in the first home league of the season, we look at the background to the fixture and some recent meetings between the teams.
 
Recent history:
 
Rovers are unbeaten in the last 13 games against Bray which is our longest unbeaten run against any team in the division. Bray’s last win came on June 2nd 2009 with a 3-1 win in the Carlisle Grounds despite Raffaele Cretaro putting Rovers in front.
 
The only players in that Bray team still with the club are David Webster and Daire Doyle. Going back slightly further Rovers have lost just one of the last 18 against the Seagulls. The last game between the sides in the Showgrounds in July last year ended in a 1-1 draw.
 
That ended a run of 10 consecutive home wins for Rovers against Bray. It did extend Rovers unbeaten run at home to Bray to 16 games with their last win in Sligo coming almost 16 years ago in 1997. All other sides in the division bar Limerick have won at least once in the Showgrounds since then. Bray have scored just five times in their last 12 visits to the Showgrounds in the top division. The all-time head-to-head record between the sides stands at 24 wins to Rovers, 16 for Bray with 18 draws.
 
That gives Rovers a win percentage of just over 41% which is higher than against any other Premier Division team.
 
In games played at the Showgrounds Rovers have won more than half with 16 wins in total and just six losses while there has been seven draws. The last two games between the sides have ended in draws which makes it the first time since 2009 that Rovers have gone two games without a win over Bray.
 
There has never been three consecutive draws between the sides. Raf Cretaro has scored eight times in his last 10 starts against Bray. Alan Keane scored Rovers last two home goals against Bray, he scored in the 1-1 draw last year and the final goal in the 3-0 win in September 2011.
 
Last year Rovers got the better in the meetings last year winning the first game before drawing the next two.
 
The first game was in the Carlisle Grounds on Good Friday and seen Rovers win 2-1. Rovers took an early lead after Raf Cretaro headed in from close range before Bray levelled shortly after through Kieran ‘Marty’ Waters.
 
 
But Rovers won the game early in the second half with Danny North scoring the winner from Joey Ndo’s ball. That result put Rovers on top of the league where they would stay for the rest of the season.
 
The next meeting took place in the Showgrounds in July and this time Bray took the lead after a good finish from Jason Byrne early in the second half. The lead didn’t last long however as Alan Keane equalised to secure the draw.
 
The final meeting was back in Bray in late September as Rovers closed in on a first league title for 35 years.
 
It was a tight game with few chances created by both sides with the game finishing scoreless.
 
Last six meetings:
 
10/5/11 Sligo Rovers 3-0 Bray Wanderers (Eoin Doyle x3)
 
1/7/11 Bray Wanderers 0-3 Sligo Rovers (Matthew Blinkhorn x2, Eoin Doyle)
 
12/9/11 Sligo Rovers 3-1 Bray Wanderers (Danny Ventre, John Russell, Alan Keane)
 
6/4/12 Bray Wanderers 1-2 Sligo Rovers (Raf Cretaro,Danny North)
 
7/7/12 Sligo Rovers 1-1 Bray Wanderers (Alan Keane)
 
21/9/12 Bray Wanderers 0-0 Sligo Rovers
 
Famous meeting:
 
The sides met on the last day of the 2008 season in the Showgrounds with European qualification at stake for Rovers.
 
Rovers hadn’t been in Europe since 1996 but after a strong season only three years after promotion back to the Premier Division a win on the final day would be needed to secure a Europa League spot for 2009. As well as a win Rovers were also relying on Cork City who were two points ahead to lose their game against already crowned champions Bohemians.
 
Bray Wanderers would provide tough oppositions they had a good season themselves finishing in sixth place. The biggest crowd of the season turned out at the Showgrounds and seen Rovers take an early lead to settle the nerves as Mauro Almeida forced home Raf Cretaro’s cross on 14 minutes.
 
Not long after the lead was doubled this time from the head of Conor O’Grady as he glanced in a Sean Doherty cross.
 
There were chances for both sides as the game wore on as Rovers looked for a third to seal victory.
 
As the clocked ticked towards the final whistle attention turned to Dalymount Park where the result was also favourable with Bohs establishing a 3-0 lead by half-time. Despite getting a goal back cork lost 3-1 and when news came through to the Showgrounds fans spilled onto the pitch as the crowd and players celebrated a huge win for the club.

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