'It was clear from the first minute' - Bradley surprised by St Pats' lack of ambition in Tallaght

After having a word at half-time, the Shamrock Rovers boss watched his side find the vital goal to seal all three points.

Hoops boss Bradley.
Hoops boss Bradley.
Image: Bryan Keane/INPHO

THEY HAD TO wait, but a winning goal did eventually arrive for Shamrock Rovers last night.

With St Patrick’s Athletic set up to contain, the visitors frustrated their opponents for large parts of the cagey Premier Division clash at Tallaght Stadium.

However, the Hoops broke the deadlock on 77 minutes when an Ethan Boyle cross came off Saints centre-half Kevin Toner and beat Barry Murphy.

Stephen Bradley was satisfied with the result, and also slightly surprised by Pats’ negative approach.

“We had to be patient and in the second half we moved it quicker,” Bradley said.

“I thought they would come and play, get at us and try to cause us problems. It was clear from the first minute that as soon as we had the ball they sat in. We spoke about it at half time, [and said] that once we kept working them they would get tired and we saw that late in the second half as their legs were gone.

I didn’t really have to say much because the group knew it and when they came into the dressing room they were all talking about moving the ball quicker. When we won it back, the big issue was that our first pass went back instead of forward.

“When you’re playing against a team that wants to sit in against you, it’s in transitions that you have to hurt them. We weren’t quick enough in transition but in the second half when we won it back we went forward and caused them more problems.”

Roberto Lopes and Ethan Boyle of Rovers celebrate the first goal of the game Roberto Lopes hugs Ethan Boyle after the winning goal. Source: Donall Farmer/INPHO

The victory takes Rovers up into fourth on ten points — three off the top — ahead of Bank Holiday Monday’s trip to Markets Field to face Limerick, who drew 1-1 with the champions Cork City last night.

“When teams set up like that tonight, if you score early it opens up,” added Bradley. “Like against Derry and Bray, when we scored they opened. I think Limerick will be similar and if we score early it’s a different game. The more the gameplan works for them in terms of sitting in and keeping compact, the more they believe they can hold on to it.

“It’s a great result for Limerick. I think those type of results are going to happen throughout the season as it’s the way it’s set up. That’s great for the league and the people watching it. Everyone would have thought Cork would go there and turn them over but they haven’t.”

Liam Buckley at the end of the game Liam Buckley applauds fans last night. Source: Donall Farmer/INPHO

After six matches played, Pat’s have now suffered three defeats and they have managed just one goal in their last four games. Manager Liam Buckley accepts that his team were second best and he will be hopeful of improvements when Sligo Rovers visit Richmond Park on Monday.

“We didn’t play well enough on the night,” Buckley said. “We have to be better with the ball. Without the ball, we weren’t too bad, defended well and got bodies back in numbers but it was a disappointing goal to give away. I think Rovers would have marginally had the better of the play over 90 minutes.”"

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