Frustrating night for Rovers boss
A frustrating night at the Carlisle Grounds left Ian Baraclough disappointed with the lack of a winning goal, but he couldn’t fault the effort of his players as they came away with a point against Bray Wanderers.
The Bit o’ Red were held scoreless despite dominating the game against the Seagulls and the Rovers manager felt the efforts of his players were not rewarded.
He said after the game: "It is frustrating when you dominate probably 90% of possession you expect to go on and put one or two on the scoreboard. It didn’t happen tonight. I thought Bray defended very, very well on the edge of their box and obviously tried to hit us with long clearances.
"On another night you could have gone and lost 1-0. I couldn’t fault the players for the work rate and the way they went about it. We pushed second half as much as we could without leaving ourselves really exposed at the back. We changed formation a little bit, we put different people in different positions to try and unlock the door but it just didn’t fall for us."
While Rovers failed to win for just the fourth time in the league this season, the advantage over Derry was extended to four points after the Candystripes were beaten at home to UCD.
Baraclough explained that it shows the difficulty of every game in the division and the victory over Derry earlier in the week meant nothing in the attempt to secure three points in Bray.
The manager said: "We’ve gained a point. We gained a point on Derry because they have played UCD and been beaten. That is how this league can be and it just shows you.
"You have to have a different mentality when you come to the Carlisle Grounds to a game at home to Derry. You have to make your own atmosphere, generate your own tempo, be a spark right from the off.
“I thought first half we were a little bit tentative and it felt almost like a pre-season game in a way. In the second half we did raise the tempo, we asked a few more questions but then you start getting players feeling they have to make a difference and doing it on their own rather than making the ball work. That was probably a criticism we have levelled at them at the moment.
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"This time last year we played UCD and were beaten 1-0 in a frustrating game. That can happen. In these sort of games you have to make sure you don’t lose one at the back. They have dangerous players. Ismahil Akinade and Kieran Marty Waters were a threat on the break. We tried for all three points and it was not for a want of trying. It just didn’t happen for us in front of goal.
"We can’t criticise the will to win or the thought process behind it. You make the ball work, you pull them around, you play from side-to-side, you look to penetrate and at times it didn’t happen for us tonight.
"As far as clear cut chances, their keeper wasn’t flying all over the place but we were certainly asking questions as far as balls going into the box. We were trying to get it into the right areas. Without over-criticising the players, we could have passed it a little bit better to create more of an opening. As it went on there was an anxiety to make something happen, which again you can't fault them. They are trying to break the team down.
"But I think we could have moved it quicker and that would have created one or two more openings. Move it quicker, move it higher up and you’re asking their back six or seven a few more questions because that is what it became."
With a full week of training ahead the next match for the Bit o’ Red is a home clash with high-flying Dundalk.
That match is part of a sequence of two games in 48 hours with Rovers taking on Mervue in the EA Sports Cup on Monday 20th May.
Both games kick-off at 7:45pm in The Showgrounds.