Adam Hanlon 81' -
Bray go into this weekend’s fixture with Limerick having suffered two disappointing results in their most recent games; a scoreless draw away to Athlone last Friday night which made them the first team to drop points to the Midlanders this season, and a comprehensive 3-0 defeat at home to Dundalk in the EA Sports Cup on Monday afternoon.
But Alan Mathews will not be too disheartened as his side have put in some decent performances this season, earning some vital points along the way. Three of their four league defeats in 2014 have come against front runners with Cork City, Shamrock Rovers and St Patrick’s Athletic proving too strong for the Wicklow club, while wins against Dundalk and Sligo Rovers in particular have provided encouragement for the Carlisle faithful.
Defensively Bray have been fairly solid, keeping clean sheets in four of their last five league outings, a healthy development after that evening in early March when they conceded five times at home to UCD.
In that same five game period the Seagulls failed to score twice, against Derry City and Athlone Town, but both games yielded a point for Mathews’ men. While the Bray boss will no doubt be pleased that striker Dave Scully netted in each of the other three - wins against Drogheda and Dundalk along with a narrow defeat to Shamrock Rovers.
Mathews will be without the suspended Robert Maloney along with injured duo Shane O’Connor and Jake Kelly, though Danny O’Connor, Shane Byrne, Eric McGill and Adam Hanlon are all available having recovered from the problems that have kept them out in recent weeks.
Speaking to the club website, www.braywanderers.ie/ ahead of Friday’s game, Mathews praised the resilience of his players.
“It was very satisfying to have come home from Athlone with a point considering the difficult circumstances we found ourselves in towards the end. It was very pleasing that the lads managed to get the point, showing a lot of resilience in doing so"
Limerick have had a tricky start to 2014 having had to wait until mid April for their first win, a 1-0 victory away to Bohemians. They followed that up with a second consecutive win, at home to Athlone Town, but these remain the Blues’ only victories this season and they have failed to win in their last three outings.
Stuart Taylor’s men came agonisingly close to collecting all three points against Shamrock Rovers last weekend, but a 97th minute equaliser from Jason McGuinness sent Limerick home with only a point to show for their endeavours at Tallaght Stadium.
It was Limerick’s fifth draw from their opening eleven league games, leaving them down among the dead men in tenth place after the first round of games. Had they held out for a win against the Hoops they would now be above Bray in seventh place, a sign of how tight the lower to mid section of the Premier Division table is.
And there are signs of improvement for the Shannonsiders. They have now lost just once in their last five league games although they will need to improve on a meagre return of just seven goals in twelve competitive matches if they are to move away from the bottom reaches of the table.
Referee: Graham Kelly
Bray’s top marksman this season is Dave Scully with four league goals to his name, while Limerick’s leading scorer is Roy Gaffney with just two after eleven league games.
The two sides played out a scoreless draw in their first meeting on the opening night of the season. So far Limerick have had two scoreless draws while Bray have been involved in three.
So far this season Limerick have managed to score more than one goal in a game on just one occasion - in a 2-1 win over bottom club Athlone Town. At the other end they have conceded more than one, just twice.
Bray 8/5; Draw 11/5; Limerick 8/5.
A draw, 1-1
Injured: Shane O’Connor, Jake Kelly.
Suspended: Robert Maloney.
Suspended: Barry Ryan.