Gal­way de­feat does lit­tle to al­lay con­cerns, but we must bounce back

The Sligo Champion - - SPORT - WITH JES­SICA FARRY

THE pen­du­lum con­tin­ues to swing. One week things are look­ing good for Sligo Rovers, and the next things are start­ing to look a bit iffy once again. We take one big step for­ward with a win over Finn Harps, and two steps back with a de­feat against Gal­way when even a draw would have been ac­cept­able at the time.

Man­agers will tell you all the time that they are just con­tin­u­ing to fo­cus on them­selves and get­ting points where they can.

But at this stage, with four games left and a mere five points sep­a­rat­ing Finn Harps in 11th and Lim­er­ick in 7th - this is go­ing to go down to the wire.

And as much as we can help our­selves by pick­ing up as many points as pos­si­ble, we do need the teams around us to drop points in the fi­nal few weeks if we are to sur­vive.

A win against Gal­way would have done won­ders. It’s not the end of the world and we are not gone yet. At the time of writ­ing, we are still out of the rel­e­ga­tion zone, but just about.

One of the big­gest dis­ap­point­ments of Fri­day night was how Rovers re­sponded to con­ced­ing against Gal­way - a char­ac­ter­is­tic of Ger Lyt­tle’s team that has earned valu­able points since his ar­rival.

That el­e­ment of our game just didn’t seem to be there on Fri­day night and Gal­way took ad­van­tage and rightly earned a valu­able three points for them­selves.

I am no math­e­mati­cian but I would like to see stats on how many points Rovers have earned from games in which they have gone be­hind. Games against Dun­dalk, Bray, St. Pa­trick’s Ath­letic and Drogheda United spring to mind, where Rovers have come from be­hind to draw.

But there have been games too where Rovers have taken the lead and been pegged back, much like they were against Gal­way on Fri­day night.

There has only been a hand­ful of oc­ca­sions in which Rovers have gone ahead and gone on to lose, such as against Cork City and Finn Harps, but draws have been res­cued thanks to an abil­ity to bounce back and that so called ‘never say die’ at­ti­tude that we were all prais­ing last week.

De­fen­sively too Rovers were not at the races at Ea­monn Deacy Park and again that is a sur­prise con­sid­er­ing how strong we have been in that area for the last few months.

Shane Kee­gan clearly sent his men out to tar­get Re­gan Donelon and Gary Boy­lan - nei­ther of whom were at their best on Fri­day night.

The gap in fix­tures is a com­plete and ut­ter mess. To go four weeks without a league, al­beit Falkirk was nes­tled in be­tween those games, is tough enough without play­ing two games be­fore hav­ing to wait an­other two weeks to play a game.

I un­der­stand that the FAI are try­ing to con­dense the cup so it’s not spread out through­out the course of the sea­son but this has not worked.

Without con­sid­er­a­tion for the teams who are knocked out of the cup, it means that they are left with ridicu­lous gaps dur­ing a cru­cial pe­riod in the sea­son.

Just when you get a good re­sult you want the next game to come quickly in or­der to build mo­men­tum, but when you lose a game you want the next game to come fast so you can get over a de­feat.

Bohs will not be an easy game, it doesn’t hap­pen like that when you’re in a rel­e­ga­tion bat­tle. Rovers are of course ca­pa­ble of beat­ing them and at this stage we re­ally do have to beat them.

If you don’t beat Bohs then there are just three games left and time is run­ning out at that stage.

Some­one told me on Twit­ter last week that a Welsh club also went seven weeks without play­ing a league game at home and they ended up get­ting rel­e­gated.

We can only hope that his­tory does not re­peat it­self here for Sligo Rovers.

Ger Lyt­tle shouts in­struc­tions at players. Pic: Sean Ryan | sport­sphoto.ie

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