‘We need to close up at the back’
A FANTASTIC first and a stinker of a second was how Bray Wanderers assistant manager Barry O’Connor summed up his side’s game of two halves on Friday evening.
Mesmerising in the opening 45 minutes, agonising in the proceeding 45 as the Seagulls threw away three points against one of their rivals.
After a third minute blip, the Wicklow club stormed back into the tie and took the lead. They could’ve added to it had they been more clinical, but unfortunately for the hosts, an eye for goal was not something the visitors lacked in the second period.
“We weren’t happy with our start. We weren’t happy with our second half start either but the second half never changed really, that’s the disappointing aspect”, sighed O’Connor.
“First half, we didn’t come out of the blocks, we gave away a soft goal but then we showed great character; we played well, we played nice football and we created a lot of chances. We got our rewards with two goals.
“Coming into half time, we were obviously happy but instead of pushing on and taking the game to UCD, we stood off and got punished.”
Such was the level of Bray’s football, UCD’s Hugh Douglas admitted that they “couldn’t cope with it at stages”.
But it didn’t last, and the Students punished their opponents. O’Connor was quick to defend the defence though.
“I don’t think it’s down to the defence. You score goals as a team and you defend as a team. All over the pitch we stood off, we didn’t close down as well as we did in the first half. That was the most disappointing aspect.
“They had a few chances early doors in the second half and that should’ve woke the lads up but it didn’t. We never managed to get out of that rut that we were in in the second half.
Overall, first half was very good, second half was very disappointing.”
Redemption could be just around the corner. O’Connor hopes to iron out the creases in Bray’s performance in training and he also is fully confident that Stephen McGuinness can fill the void left by Shane Redmond – who he believes was silly to be sent off in such a manner.
“We’ve just got to get back into training. We’ve three sessions during the week and we’ll work on it. We’ll work on the faults from tonight, I’m sure the players in there are hurting – as they should be. They’ve been good, they’ve been excellent in training and I’m sure that they can bounce back.
“Shane should never have got involved in the incident. He’s got nothing to do with it, he’s 30 yards away.
“Anyone who runs 30 yards and shoves another player? You can’t do it. It was a silly thing to do and Shane’s going to have to learn that. At this level, you can’t do that.
“Stephen’s been excellent. He’s been excellent in training, he’s been excellent with the U-19’s, he’s been a good back-up to Shane and he went in tonight and did the few things he had to do. None of the goals were his fault, he pulled off a good save, his kicking was good. We’d have full confidence in Stephen next week.”
While Redmond will now sit a suspension, David Cassidy returned from his on Friday evening and he was back with a bang; marking the occasion with two goals.
The Bray number two was delighted with the midfielder’s impact and he’ll be hoping he can repeat the feat when Wanderers take on Bohemians in Dalymount Park on Friday, where they will be looking for all three points.
“We were disappointed to lose him for the few games with his suspension, he brings experience to the team and he’s an intelligent player.
“He’s been in the league a good few years now, he’s a good player, he’s good for the group. It’s great to see him back and for him to bag a couple of goals and hopefully now he can kick on.
“We go into every game to try and win the game. That’s the mind-set that we have. We’re trying to be positive and as you can see tonight, we have players that can hurt teams.
!We’ve got pace and we’ll score goals; we just need to close up more at the back.”