Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Bray suffer another defeat

Eoin Doyle scored a superb hat-trick as Sligo Rovers jumped to third in the Airtricity League Premier Division with a 3-1 defeat of Bray.

Doyle opened the scoring on 13 minutes at the Showgrounds by punishing Matt Gregg's spill.

A mix-up in the Rovers defence enabled Conor Murphy to level matters before the break, but Doyle fired home from close range on 59 and 68 minutes - with Alan Kirby and John Dillon the providers - to secure a deserved win for the hosts.Rovers made six changes to the team beaten by Shamrock Rovers on Friday, with cup final hero Ciaran Kelly handed a start in goal and Alan Kirby, John Russell, Aaron Greene, Daryl Horgan and Gavin Peers all given starts.

Russell and Horgan were involved in the game's first chance, combining to send lone striker Eoin Doyle free down the right, and his low ball across the face of goal came to Greene at the back post, but his effort clipped the crossbar and went over.

But Doyle got his fourth goal in three home games with the next chance, lifting the ball to the net after Matt Gregg had dropped Alan Kirby's delivery at the feet of the grateful striker.

Bray made four changes of their own for this game, and were forced into a substitution after just 21 minutes, when David Webster picked up a leg injury.

Bray reorganised with Shane O'Connor going to right-full-back, and former Sligo player Joe Kendrick switching to centre-back, but the visitors were able to introduce the talented Jake Kelly from the bench.

But Rovers had the next chance as they dominated the early stages, with Horgan trying his luck from a cheeky chip after Kendrick's clearance fell invitingly.

In fact Bray hadn't a real chance of note until they equalised on 31 minutes, following another defensive mix-up.

This time it was Jason McGuinness and Ciaran Kelly that got their wires crossed, with the defender's unconvincing header falling for Conor Murphy to slot past the keeper.

Rovers had a chance to retake the lead when Richie Ryan was fouled at the edge of the area, but Aaron Greene's free-kick never threatened.

Doyle got through again four minutes later, but he screwed his snapshot narrowly wide of the post when the ball broke to him inside the area.

A rare Bray attack did force a corner before the break, but Dane Massey couldn't direct Gary Dempsey's delivery goalwards.

A decisive final ball was proving elusive for the hosts, but Iarfhlaith Davoren's cross did pick out Russell early in the second half, only for the midfielder's touch to let him down.

At the other end, Ciaran Kelly had to deal with a dangerous cross from Dean Zambra, before McGuinness almost redeemed himself with a fine header from Alan Keane's cross, but Gregg was well positioned.

But Doyle doubled his contribution just before the hour-mark, after some good work from Horgan and Keane released Alan Kirby in the area, and he clipped the ball into Doyle to fire home.

Rovers introduced Joseph Ndo and John Dillon after this, and the latter set up the third for Doyle, who again showed good predatory instincts to fire the ball home from just inside the box.

Doyle came off to a standing ovation on 82 minutes, as Rovers wrapped up a convincing win.