The first series of games in the 2021 SSE Airtricity League First Division is now complete and Bray Wanderers have finished it with three successive victories.
Football can stir up a lot of a different emotions and this is evident in the way in which each of those three wins for The Seagulls have come about. First, there was the sheer relief of Gary Shaw’s last-gasp winner in Galway earlier this month. Then, there was the calm and pleasure of last week’s relatively straightforward 3-0 win over Cabinteely. Finally, the frustration of a drop in performance against bottom side Wexford FC on Friday combined with the satisfaction of taking all three points in the end.
The last feeling was summed up by manager Gary Cronin when he spoke to James Fenton after the 1-0 victory at Ferrycarrig Park on Friday, which was sealed by a first half Joe Doyle strike.
“It wasn’t the prettiest game in the world,” Gary said. “Credit to Wexford, they’re fighting to get something on the board and they’ve got a new manager (Ian Ryan). Coming down here and taking three points is the most important thing. We’ve another clean sheet, of course we wanted more goals, but winning 1-0 away from home, I’ll take that all day long. We didn’t play particularly well and credit to Wexford for snuffing us out of a lot of scenarios but we still created chances. We did it a little bit ugly tonight but that’s what it takes sometimes.”
Bray started the season with five draws and one defeat before the long-awaited first win against Galway on May 7. The three recent wins have brought us up to fifth in the table on 14 points, level with Athlone Town but behind them on goals scored. We’ve now played every team in the division and while it would have been nice to have turned a couple of those draws into wins, one defeat in nine games doesn’t read too badly. So how does Gary assess the campaign so far?
“A little bit disappointed points-wise and where we are in the league table,” is what he said when asked to reflect on Friday night. “But considering our injury issues, we’ve only been beaten once and we’ve kept five clean sheets. We just need to keep the run that we’re on going. After the first series of games, there are no runaway leaders which is a good thing. All in all, we have to be satisfied with our form changing towards the end, I’d rather that than losing it at this stage. So a bit disappointed with the points but there are two series of games left and we can rectify that.”
The Seagulls will be looking to make it four wins on the bounce when we travel to Treaty United on Friday. What emotions will be stirred up in the next chapter of this rollercoaster campaign? You’ll have to sign up for LOI.TV.ie to find out.