Waterford v Athlone Town (Division 1)
While Waterford are yet to appoint a new manager since sacking Ian Morris just over a week ago, the Blues got a “new manager bounce” of sorts as their stand-in management team managed to produce a dominant display from the players in a 2-0 win away to local rivals Wexford last weekend.
Unfortunately, Waterford didn’t have a chance to keep that momentum going on Friday night as they were on a bye week but that should have allowed the caretaker management team plenty of time to implement further changes on the training ground. And, in truth, Waterford couldn’t have asked for a better fixture to return to as rock-bottom Athlone Town visit the RSC on Bank Holiday Monday.
The Midlanders are the only team in the division yet to win a game and they were thumped 3-0 by Wexford on Friday and lost this fixture 5-2 on the opening day of the season. While things clearly haven’t gone to plan for Waterford since then, they have more than enough quality to blow Athlone out of the water again and send their fans home happy.
HOT STAT: Athlone have won just 1 of the last 11 H2H’s v Waterford.
Wexford v Bray Wanderers (Division 1)
Frustration and anger continue to simmer below the surface at Bray Wanderers with the club’s new owners clearly not popular with the Seagulls’ traditional supporters while results and the style of play on the pitch have come under scrutiny from fairly early on this season. The disabling of fans comments on social media is only adding to the clear divide which has opened up between the club and its fans and Wexford FC will look to capitalise on the unrest on Monday evening.
Had Cobh Ramblers not missed an early penalty against Bray on Friday, the Cork side may have left County Wicklow with maximum points which would only have added further fuel to this rapidly growing fire at the Carlise Grounds.
Despite a mixed start to the season for Wexford, the contrast in mood and feeling around the club couldn’t be more contrasting with Ian Ryan’s team playing a nice brand of football which the fans are buying into.
A comprehensive 3-0 win against Athlone at the weekend moved Wexford to within two points of the play-off places and crucially, they sit three points clear of Bray ahead of this encounter at Ferrycarrig Park.
These two sides played out a scoreless draw earlier in the campaign and Bray have been the draw specialists this season with five from twelve matches. However, they’ve only won twice, that’s the joint second-lowest win tally in the division, hence the supporter unrest.
Wexford have won four times this season with all four wins coming against sides below them in the standings. Bray Wanderers fit that profile so if any side are going to win this game, I’d have to fancy Wexford at home. However, with Bray’s defensive approach no secret, we’ll play this one slightly cautiously.
Cork City v Treaty (Division 1)
Having been 2-0 up with under half-an-hour to go, only to lose 3-2 at home to Galway on Friday, you’ve got to ask what the mood in the Treaty United camp will be like when they make the short trip over to Turners Cross on Monday.
Aside from the mental strain that result may place on Tommy Barrett’s team, it should be remembered they are operating on an amateur basis and will not enjoy the same sort of rest and recovery ahead of Monday’s trip to Cork that the home side can look forward to as full-time professionals.
Cork City are absolutely flying this season and put potential promotion rivals Longford Town to the sword at the Cross on Friday with a resounding 4-1 success. The Rebels hammered Treaty United 4-0 in their place just a few weeks ago and will fancy their chances of repeating the dose here.
Cork City are now three points clear of Galway at the top and with Galway having a tricky tie against Longford on Monday, Cork will want to be in a position to punish the Tribesmen if they do slip up at home to Longford.
While City don’t play the most attractive style of football in the world, they are extremely clinical in front of goal and have now scored a remarkable 28 goals in just 12 league games. They’ve also conceded the least amount in the division, shipping just six goals all season. That’s the sort of combination that wins titles and as a result, you’d have to make Cork the favourites to win the division.
As well as holding the best offensive and defensive records in the division, Cork City also sit top of the “home form” table and as a result, you simply can’t look past the Rebels in this Munster Derby.
Written by an Andy verified content writer
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