Baraclough: Rovers victory 'delight to watch'
Manager Ian Baraclough was full of praise for his players after the 3-0 win over UCD in the UCD Bowl on Friday night in the Airtricity Premier Division, describing it as a “delight to watch”.
Rovers made it five wins and a draw from the last six games with this comprehensive victory in Dublin and following Dundalk's defeat to St Patrick's Athletic, the Bit o' Red are just two points behind the Lilywhites.
Ian Baraclough's side were particularly impressive in the second half, offering one of the most eye-pleasing 45 minutes of the season with three excellent goals.
Baraclough said: “I thought it was a really entertaining game to watch from both sides. UCD were always going to press and try to play their brand of football. They never stopped in 90 minutes, chasing, closing down and it made us pass the ball with an intensity. I thought we moved it really well. From the lads at the back, they moved it into midfield, created chances and we took the chances.
“First half we were playing a little too deep to start the attacks. Greener and Kieran Djilali were getting it in their own half and we wanted them to get it 20 yards higher up and cause problems. Lee Lynch worked with Danny North, the two midfielders in there Joesph and Danny Ventre, they kept the ball ever so well.
“The full-backs got forward and I think it was a delight to watch. It really was. Don't under-estimate coming here and doing it against UCD. It is a difficult, difficult place to come and we have turned them over twice.”
It took 45 minutes to get into full stride with UCD offering a stringent test and stifling Rovers for most of the first period.
Baraclough was elated with the standard of the goals and how the side keep working to ensure they came away with three points.
“It is a case of coming here and being patient and not panicking. Just because we came in here at half-time and no rewards for our endeavour, keep doing the same and you will get your rewards and so it proved. It was a great first goal, well-taken. Joseph straight in from a corner, put it in a danger area and you're asking questions of goalkeepers and defenders.
“The third goal, Aaron Greene was a menace all night and a real threat. He put in a great ball for Danny. He was lurking in those positions seven or eight times and probably got it taken off the toe or hit the ground or the back of a defender. He finally got his reward. ”
The Bit o' Red are the form team in the country going into the final weeks of the season and will hope to make a push for honours in the league and FAI Cup in the coming weeks
Baraclough stated: “Hopefully we can carry that on. There is almost a full compliment of players in the squad now. One or two were rested and have given one or two others a chance. They have given me problems now which is what I've asked for. Nobody wants to be left out.
“The tempo we played tonight is how training is at the moment. That is a great sign coming into the final weeks of the season."
The Rovers boss was asked if there was a message for the club's supporters ahead of six weeks that will decide the entire outcome of the season.
His response was swift: “Get behind the lads. They have put on a performance tonight, I know it was in Dublin and away from home, but I think the momentum is building and it has been building. We've got some great games to look forward to. These are really exciting times and I think anybody who came here tonight would have been delighted with what they saw because there was some great football played.”
“All we can do is keep winning our games. Keep piling on the pressure, keep asking the questions. Irrespective of the result tonight between Pat's and Dundalk, it was important what we did here. We are that little bit closer to Dundalk and they know that. We have got St Pat's to play so it is in our own hands to a certain extent."