League Preview: Bray Wanderers -v- St Patrick's Athletic

Fri, Feb 23 2018

Credit: Laszlo Geczo

BRAY WANDERERS

Bray come in to their first home game of the season on the back of an eye-opening 0-0 draw away to Dundalk last time out.

 

The Seagulls dug in and made it tough for the Lilywhites during the course of the game, putting in a solid defensive performance.

 

New signing Aaron Dillon impressed in the net on his debut, as well as fellow new signings Ronan Coughlan and Cory Galvin looking dangerous on the counter-attack.

 

Talisman Aaron Greene almost secured a win in the second-half and played well throughout the game.

 

Manager Dave Mackay will no doubt be encouraged by the spirited performance and will have brought home plenty of positives heading into tonight’s first home league game of the season.

 

This fixture is just as interesting off-the-pitch though. Most people know of Bray’s struggle last season with enticing a big crowd to their home turf, so it will be fascinating to see if the Bray fans come out in numbers, particularly after last week’s positive result.

 

Bray have not released any team news at the time of writing.

 

 

ST PATRICK’S ATHLETIC

Following a 3-2 home defeat to champions Cork City last week, the Saints come into this game searching for their second win at the Carlisle Grounds this season.

 

Last week was the game of the week in most people’s eyes. Cork ran into a quick two-goal lead through Barry McNamee and Graham Cummins. The latter then got sent off in the 26th minute for an elbow on Kevin Toner.

 

It was all Pats after that. Cork's Aaron Barry netted an own goal eight minutes after the red card and veteran winger Conan Byrne notched after 45 seconds into the second half.

 

Pats piled the pressure on looking for a winner, until Kieran Sadlier scored directly from a corner late on, with goalkeeper Barry Murphy slipping allowing the ball to creep over the line.

 

Pats boss Liam Buckley was ‘disappointed' and 'gutted' following the Cork game but challenged his men to bounce back as soon as possible against Bray.

 

Speaking to the club’s official Twitter account, @stpatsfc, Buckley is expecting a tough game down in Co. Wicklow.

 

“I’d settle for the same result to be honest! [referring to their 1-3 win in the LSC]. I wouldn’t look into that too much, I’ve no doubt that Dave [Mackey] was looking at the game to improve his sides fitness levels more than anything.

 

“We’re expecting a tough game, their 0-0 draw with Dundalk last week speaks volumes. Every team in the league is organised defensively and the whole division is a tough one to get points in, but from our point of view we just need to look after ourselves and look to improve each week.”

 

After last week’s disappointing defeat, having played well, the Inchicore club will no doubt want to bounce back with a win on Friday night, particularly if they want to avoid a disastrous start like they did last season.

 

 

Referee: Graham Kelly

 

 

MATCH STATS

This exact fixture was played 19 days ago in the Leinster Senior Cup. Pats won 3-1, with goals from former Seagull Ryan Brennan, Kevin Toner and Christy Fagan advancing them to the quarter-finals. Hughie Douglas netted a second-half consolation for the home side.

 

Bray and Pats have met each other 46 times competitively. The Saints have the upper hand, winning 30 of those games. Bray have won 11 and there has been five draws.

 

There has been an average of 2.9 goals per game in these fixtures.

 

From the three league meetings last season, it was fairly even.

 

Bray won the first game 1-2 at Richmond Park on the opening night last season. A 1-1 draw was contested in May and a 3-1 come-from-behind-win Pat’s win in July, which was played in front of the TV cameras, went a long way to retaining the former’s division status.

 

Pats' number 11 Ryan Brennan returns to his old employers from last season, having netted against St Pats for Bray in that May game.

 

 

BETTING

Bray Wanderers 13/5; Draw 23/10; St Patrick’s Athletic evs.

 

PREDICTION

Bray Wanderers 1-2 St Patrick’s Athletic

 

 

Bray Wanderers

Injured: Unknown

Doubtful: Unknown

Suspended: None

 

St Patrick’s Athletic

Injured: None

Doubtful: Killian Brennan, Thomas Byrne.

Suspended: None.