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