Match stats v Bray Wanderers
Having won the first league game of the season against Athlone Town at the Showgrounds last week Rovers will try to make it two wins from two to start the season as was done last year.
However that was the first time since 1996/97 (when beating UCD at home and Cork away both 2-1) that the Bit o’ Red had done so.
Winning the opening two league fixtures has only been done by Rovers five other times in the top division (1937-when winning the league, 1968, 1978, 1978 and 1996 - when also starting with a home win over Athlone) and one other time in the First Division in 1986. That gives a total of eight previous occasions Rovers have won the first two league games.
Only one league game has been lost from the last five on the road which was the defeat against St. Pat’s at the end of the 2013 season. Three of the five were won, at UCD, Bohs and Shamrock Rovers.
The wins at Bohs and UCD which were achieved consecutively are the only back-to-back away wins Rovers recorded since winning the opening four of the 2013 season. It can be achieved again with a win in Bray as the final away league game of last season was the win in Tallaght.
Excluding games at Richmond Park the Bit o’Red have won the last four away in all competitions and not lost in five since going down 2-0 to Dundalk in August.
In each of the last four league campaigns Rovers haven’t been beaten in the first four away games of the season before losing the fifth. In 2010, 2011 and 2012 those four games included fixtures at the Carlisle Grounds.
13 out of the last 15 goals scored by the Bit o’Red in away games have come in the second half of games. The only exceptions are Gavin Peers goal at Bohs in the 16th minute of the win in Dalymount Park last September and Aaron Greene’s after 26 minutes when beating UCD at the Bowl in April of last year.
In the current eight year stay in the Premier Division the first away game has been won three times (Galway 2007, Derry 2011 & 2013), lost three times (Derry 2006, St. Pat’s 2008 and Shamrock Rovers 2009) and drawn twice (Sporting Fingal 2010 and Shelbourne 2012). That means that in the last four years Rovers have avoided defeat and won half of the games.
In Rovers last 18 away defeats in league action the opposition has scored the first goal. The last time the Bit o’Red scored first but still lost the game happened against Bray Wanderers in June 2009 when the Seagulls won despite the opening goal being scored by Raf Cretaro.
The time before was the opening game of the 2008 season when despite Jamie McKenzie scoring first St. Pat’s came back to win 3-1 at Richmond Park.
In only two of the last 10 away draws have Rovers been the first team to score first. Only Shamrock Rovers on two occasions coming back to prevent us taking all three points after scoring first.
Therefore in 16 out of the last 18 fixtures where Rovers have been the away side and got the first goal they have gone on to collect all three points.
The win against Crusaders by 5-0 was the biggest for the club since beating Glentoran by the same margin also at the Setanta Sports Cup quarter-final stage last year.
The last time the Bit o’Red won a game by more was the 7-1 win against Galway United on 1/10/11 in the Showgrounds.
The first clean sheet of the season was kept to take the run without conceding from open play in the Showgrounds to 11 games or 1,038 minutes.
Ross Gaynor made it to 200th career appearances across all clubs against Crusaders. He marked the game with an excellent free-kick in the second half to score his third Bit o’Red goal.
He has previously scored one in each of his two other seasons with the club. His other goals came in the EA Sports cup against Monaghan United in 2012 and in the league win over Derry City last season. Both goals were also from dead balls with the Monaghan strike being direct from a free-kick and his Derry goal coming from the penalty spot. However he missed the chance to score with a penalty in the game against Crusaders this week.
Evan McMillan scored again to follow up his winner against Athlone at the weekend to take him to seven goals for the club. It’s the first time he has scored in back-to-back games since doing so for Bohs in his last game with the club, a 4-1 home loss against Drogheda, and then scoring on his Rovers debut against Glentoran.
Seamus Conneely can move to 50 appearances for Rovers if he plays against Bray. His debut for the club came against Bray in a home fixture in July 2012.
The Galwegian has two goals to his name so far with the Bit o’Red the first coming in his first season against Drogheda and one more last year in an away win at Shelbourne.
Danny North registered his first goals of the season against Crusaders with a double strike in the first period. It takes him to 26 goals for the club from just 48 appearances. He had only one previous goal in the competition when scoring a late penalty away to Glentoran to draw the game 1-1.
It also moves him to 51 goals since coming to play in the League of Ireland, he had 25 for St. Pat’s meaning he has now surpassed his tally from his time with the Saints. It was the eighth time he has scored twice in a game for the Bit o’ Red which includes famously doing so in last year’s FAI Cup final.
Last six results:
25/10/13 LOI Shamrock Rovers 1-2 Sligo Rovers (Aaron Greene, Danny North)
3/11/13 FAI Sligo Rovers 3-2 Drogheda United (Danny North x2, Anthony Elding)
24/2/14 SSC Crusaders 1-4 Sligo Rovers (Eric Odhiambo x3, Aaron Greene)
2/3/14 PC St. Pat’s 1-0 Sligo Rovers
8/3/14 LOI Sligo Rovers 2-1 Athlone Town (John Russell, Evan McMillan)
10/3/14 SSC Sligo Rovers 5-0 Crusaders (Evan McMillan, Danny North x2, Ross Gaynor, Liam Flatley)
Rovers are unbeaten in the last 16 games against Bray which is our longest unbeaten run against any team in the division. Bray’s last win over Rovers came on June 2nd 2009 with a 3-1 win in the Carlisle Grounds despite Raffaele Cretaro putting Rovers in front.
The only player in that Bray team still with the club is David Webster. Going back slightly further Rovers have lost just one of the last 21 against the Seagulls.
The second most recent defeat being 2-1 on the final day of the 2007 season in what was Rob McDonald’s only competitive game in charge. Bray scored through Alan Cawley and Jay O’Shea while Ross McLoughlin got the Bit o’Red goal.
Eleven out of the 16 game unbeaten streak have ended in wins for Rovers which includes five and four game winning runs. Six of the most nine recent have also ended in Rovers favour since a scoreless draw in Bray in March 2011.
That stalemate is one of three on the last five visits to the Carlisle Grounds for the Bit o’Red with Wanderers only scoring once in that time through the now departed Kieran Waters.
In both Sligo and Bray three out of five have also been drawn. The only Bray goal in that time was in the game farthest back when the also departed Jason Byrne netted in the Showgrounds in July 2012. It means it’s a total of 401 minutes since the Seagulls put a goal past the Bit o’Red.
Over a longer period of time Bray have just three goals scored in 10 meetings with the 2013 FAI Cup winners with it being 16 games since they scored more than one goal in a game. That was in a 3-2 Bit o’Red win at the Carlisle Grounds in April 2010 which included an own goal from Rovers keeper Richard Brush and a Jake Kelly penalty.
This will be the 44th meeting of the sides in the top division with Rovers winning more than twice as many as Bray, 21 to 10.
Raffaele Cretaro has scored nine times in his last 12 starts against Bray. That includes when he scored his 50th league goal for Rovers against them last year in the Showgrounds.
Seven of Danny North’s 40 league goals have been against Bray Wanderers which is more than against any other team. That includes his first ever goal in the League of Ireland when playing for Pat’s as they lost 3-2 in the Carlisle grounds despite him scoring twice in the game.
His seven goals have come in eight meetings with the Seagulls one of which has been while with Rovers.
Kieran Djilali has scored both times he has faced the Seagulls. The two goals were in the Showgrounds with the first also being his first for Rovers.
Last six meetings:
6/4/12 LOI Bray Wanderers 1-2 Sligo Rovers (Raf Cretaro, Danny North)
7/7/12 LOI Sligo Rovers 1-1 Bray Wanderers (Alan Keane)
21/9/12 LOI Bray Wanderers 0-0 Sligo Rovers
16/3/13 LOI Sligo Rovers 3-0 Bray Wanderers (Anthony Elding x2, Kieran Djilali)
10/5/13 LOI Bray Wanderers 0-0 Sligo Rovers
10/8/13 LOI Sligo Rovers 2-0 Bray Wanderers (Raf Cretaro, Kieran Djilali)