Cork City v Bray: Colin Healy's side must be prepared for a backlash

After getting swept aside in the opening game of the season, Wanderers will be determined to hold firm at Turner's Cross tonight
Cork City v Bray: Colin Healy's side must be prepared for a backlash

Cork City players celebrate one of their six goals against Bray Wanderers earlier this season. Picture: David Fitzgerald/Sportsfile

FRIDAY: SSE Airtricity League First Division: Cork City v Bray Wanderers, Turner's Cross, 7.45pm. 

EIGHT weeks have passed since these sides met on the opening day of the season, in a game that City swept their opponents aside to the tune of six goals. 

Does that mean this will be an easy game for City considering how convincingly they defeated the same opponents less than two months ago? Yes and no.

I would imagine that those Bray players would have been humiliated for days after that game and the thought of facing their family and friends after such a result would have been daunting. To be on the wrong end of a drubbing is embarrassing, and I’m sure the Bray players will be itching to get revenge on City since that night. 

Bray weren’t as poor on the night as the result suggested. 

For six minutes in which City scored four goals, the Seagulls capitulated and lost all sense of how to defend as a team and Colin Healy’s side were ruthless with their finishing. Bray should have learned a lesson from that game; that you must defend as a team and one player deciding to go on his own mission can impact the team. 

Unfortunately for Bray, that night it seemed the entire team had their own agenda for those six minutes.

Cork City supporters are enjoying the club's good run of form. Picture: David Fitzgerald/Sportsfile
Cork City supporters are enjoying the club's good run of form. Picture: David Fitzgerald/Sportsfile

I would expect the Seagulls to come to Turner's Cross with a game-plan of trying to contain City and hope to catch the league leaders on the break or score from a set-piece. There is little pressure on them as no one is expecting them to get anything from the game which can help the team because players will feel relaxed.

Of course, if City start the way they have been in recent games and score early and with the backing of the Rebel Army in the stands, the Bray players' minds will go back to the humiliation and they will start to think that they are in for another long night.

FORTRESS

Although their sole defeat this season came at Turner's Cross, City have made the ground a fortress again. I think teams enjoyed coming to Turner's Cross last season but this year, it feels the opposite. It seems in games that away teams want to be back on that bus as soon as they have gotten off of it and that is a credit to the City players and the supporters. 

The fans have made it a hostile environment for away players and have backed their team. 

In response; the players have been playing quick attacking football and teams cannot cope with the aggressive tempo of City’s play. I’m sure they will want to put on a similar performance again against Bray.

However, if they don’t perform to the levels they can, they have shown that they can grind games out like they did at Wexford, which will worry teams. Winning ugly shows the team is physically and mentally strong and also full of confidence because the players will believe that no matter how they perform, they will get the three points. 

Even in the second half of last season, when City were playing well and picking up results, there was a bit of softness in the side. They looked vulnerable at set-pieces and when the fight was really put to them, they didn’t stand up. That has changed this season, meaning that games like this might have in the past been a game Bray thought they would just make it a battle and their physicality would prevail, that is no longer an option when facing the league leaders.

City come into this game on the back of a two-week break. I believe the rest came at the perfect time for them and they will be better for it tonight. The amount of effort and the energy the City players applied in their first eight games would have taken its toll. 

The rest will have given them the chance to recharge their batteries. It also has also provided time for some players to return from injury which will boost the squad ahead of this fixture.

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