‘We need to close up at the back’

Bray People - - SPORT -

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.”

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