Following Tuesday’s controversial SSE Airtricity League Premier Division defeat to St Patrick’s Athletic at Eamonn Deacy Park, Galway United face a tricky away assignment against Bray Wanderers at the Carlisle Grounds on Saturday (7.45pm ).
United were aggrieved by referee Padraigh Sutton’s decision to send John Sullivan off for a second yellow card in the 40th minute of the clash with the Saints. Following Sullivan’s dismissal Sean Hoare, Billy Dennehy, and substitute Conan Byrne bagged goals for Pat’s, who had been troubled by United earlier on.
“I felt we were playing well, " said United manager Tommy Dunne. "We had a couple of chances, we should have taken them, but we didn't take them.
“What we felt was a free kick the other way, possibly a booking, but the other direction ends up a booking and a free kick against us, then John gets sent off,” Dunne said of Sullivan’s red card. “I thought we were in the ascendancy, then John gets sent off and we switch off at a corner kick. From our point of view, we go in at half time and you are trying to readjust things.”
Hoare headed the opener on the stroke of half time, while Billy Dennehy added a second goal from another hotly disputed 51st minute free-kick. “Six minutes into the second half the linesman gives a free-kick, but we didn't defend it properly from what I could see.”
Pat’s midfielder Graham Kelly was subsequently sent off, but while United substitute Enda Curran twice went close, the visitors added a third late on courtesy of Byrne.
“Enda had a great chance, but he probably caught it too well. They went down to make it 3-0, but it all hinges on the decisions that are made in the first half.
“It was a major turning point. It is on 40 minutes when he was sent off, but if we defended the set piece, we would have went in at 0-0. If you keep defending properly, doing things right, they might have gone down to 10 men and suddenly it is game on again. We have this looseness in us that we lack concentration at critical times. That is what cost us.”
Next on the agenda for United is a demanding fixture at the Carlise Grounds where an improving Bray side will be quietly confident. United will be without the suspended Sullivan, and injured duo Stephen Folan and skipper Ryan Connolly.
“We have got to try to regroup,” Dunne admits. “We have one or two coming back, who are only getting into it. We had one or two who couldn't get the distance, so we weren't able to turn the screw properly when it was 10 v 10.
“It is trying to get players that can get around the park at a good tempo and be aggressive in the game itself. Going to Bray, we need to go up there prepared.
"We have to start looking at clean sheets again. That is the first thing because in the last four games we have conceded nearly 10 goals.”
Dunne is demanding United remain safe and solid during what promises to be a defining couple of weeks for the club.
*Galway United Supporters Trust is running a bus to Saturday's match at the Carlisle Grounds, leaving The Dail Bar at 3.30pm. Seats can be booked by contacting Dominick Walsh 087-9163438 or Ronan Coleman 087-6972823.