Baraclough reflects on 'unjust' ending
Sligo Rovers manager Ian Baraclough reflected on what he felt was an unjust ending to Saturday night’s SSE Airtricity Premier Division match with Dundalk in The Showgrounds.
Dane Massey’s last minute goal gave the Lilyhwhites a 1-0 victory against the 10-man Bit o’ Red. Ross Gaynor was dismissed inside the opening 10 minutes but a well-organised and spirited performance saw Rovers stay on level terms until the closing seconds.
Baraclough said: “It’s hard to take. It was a performance that asked different qualities of the players. I saw characteristics that I’m not surprised about and knew we had in us.
“We were organised, compact and worked hard for each other. We covered a lot of ground. We frustrated them and had chances on the break which we didn’t quite convert with the final pass. Overall I thought it was very unjust.
“The red card changed the whole complexion of the game. For me it was shoulder to shoulder coming together and the guy has gone down very easily. The referee made a quick decision without conferring with his linesman but that’s what gone and happened.
“We feel as if we lost a game we shouldn’t have lost. In many aspects we were the better team.”
The Rovers boss saw plenty of qualities in his side’s performance as they frustrated Dundalk for the entire game until the stoppage-time goal.
While it means Rovers have now suffered two defeats in the league, Baraclough said the reaction of his players in an adverse situation showed that his team can soon return to form.
“You take the qualities we showed against Dundalk into games where it’s 11v11 and we’re a threat. We are four points off top spot which isn’t much and we certainly won’t be panicking within the dressing-room.
“Hopefully outside won’t be panicking either. There are a lot of twists and turns and a lot of things will go for you and go against you. It is how you react to it is very important.
“The lads have stayed strong together there tonight. They could have given up the ghost and capitulated. We didn’t and we showed a unity in there that was admirable and we have to do that throughout the club.”
Sean Maguire was sacrificed following the dismissal of Gaynor as Rovers had to rejig with only 10 man on the pitch. Baraclough has sympathy for his striker but said the next two matches will provide a chance for all his players to follow up their encouraging reaction to Saturday's difficult scenario with wins on the board.
He said: “I felt sorry for Sean Maguire. He looks as if we started bright but for me that was the way to go forward. I’m sure people will have other views and make those views aired.
“For me that was the way to stay in the game against a Dundalk side that could hurt you if you were very open. If you had gone two up top with three in midfield I think we would have got stretched from side to side and the full-back would have been in real danger.
“We chose to go that way and made the decision. I know what I saw from the team and the squad there. There was plenty of passion and working for each other and working for the badge. You can see by the lads in there after the game that it means something to them.
“They are two great games to go and attack this week. We’ll make sure we stick together and try to get the result we deserve. If we put that amount of work into the game on Tuesday and Friday we will get the result, I have no doubt.”