A steadying of the ship for Seagulls
SSE Airtricity Premier Division: Bohemians 0 Bray Wanderers 0
Football is a funny old game. Bohemians welcomed Bray Wanderers to Dalymount Park on Friday evening on the back of two magnificent wins; one over arch-rivals Shamrock Rovers and the other - a first defeat of the season for Cork City.
The Seagulls travelled to the capital desperately hoping to halt their slide that has seen them suffer four defeats on the bounce and accrue the second worst defensive record in the league. So it was inevitable then that the Co. Wicklow defence would be the stars as they held Bohs at bay in a drab 0-0 stalemate.
Harry Kenny had to plan without Hugh Douglas - the versatile defender had stitches in his head following a knock against Finn Harps and was not cleared to play. This saw Tim Clancy ushered back into the starting XI as Bray shook things up and opted for a 4-1-4-1 formation which saw Gary McCabe restricted to bench-warming duties.
If you were hoping that this match report would be an epic, pulsating blow-by-blow account - you're about to be disappointed. For that to happen, there has to be noteworthy occurrences and they were oh so sadly lacking at the home of the Gypsies.
A couple of wayward corners was all we had to get the pulses racing until Mark Salmon took aim from the edge of the box. Bohs goalkeeper Shane Supple played it safe and turned it behind for another edge-of-the-seat flag kick.
Fast forward 11 minutes (it seemed like longer) and we witnessed Lorcan Fitzgerald - a man with a delightful left foot - curl a free kick into the Bray wall.
Bohs got in on the corner act in the 36th minute as they earned their first effort and a second followed in quick succession. Both came to nothing. Absolutely nothing.
John Sullivan ventured forward from his holding midfield role to register another strike on target for the away side but it was a scuffed one and Supple didn't lose any sleep over it.
The interval arrived and Bray will have been buoyed as they were the superior side despite a distinct lack of a genuine attacking threat - something that both sides were guilty of despite the likes of Aaron Greene, Dinny Corcoran and Ismahil Akinade being on show.
Both previous meetings between those sides this season saw Bray take the lead only to be overturned by Keith Long's outfit so the Wanderers were determined not to allow their hosts to make it a clean sweep.
Ryan Brennan tried to inject some excitement into affairs two minutes into the second period as he broke in off the right flank but failed to test Supple with his shot.
Supple was finally called on to earn his money in the 51st minute. Salmon and Brennan combined well as the former knocked a header down to the latter. He turned neatly and got his shot away but Supple showed good reflexes.
Keith Ward was introduced in the 55th minute as Long tried to inspire his side and Ward almost offered the inspiration as he curled one towards Lee Steacy's top corner but it sailed over the crossbar.
Dan Byrne was almost an unlikely hero for the home side. With seven minutes of normal time remaining, he popped up in the Bray penalty area to meet Fuad Sule's clipped cross to the back stick but he got too much purchase on it and Steacy watched it clear his crossbar.
Akinade had a similar chance when Paddy Kavanagh's centre found him but his outcome was the same as Byrne's.
There were four minutes of injury time added on but it could've been 400 minutes and the result would probably have remained the same.
For Bohemians, it was an underwhelming and disappointing performance. Bray won't exactly be thrilled with their efforts either but they steadied the ship and can now look forward to the visit of Cork City when they will hope to build on this stalemate.
Bohemians: 1. Shane Suppple; 26. Dylan Hayes, 5. Robert Cornwall, 6. Dan Byrne, 2. Derek Pender; 21. George Poynton, 16. Fuad Sule, 15. Oscar Brennan, 3. Lorcan Fitzgerald; 9. Dinny Corcoran, 24. Ismahil Akinade. Subs: Keith Ward for Corcoran (55); Patrick Kavanagh for Fitzgerald (67); Ciaran O'Connor for Poynton (78). Not used: Kian Clarke, Ian Morris, Eoghan Morgan, Philip Gannon.
Bray Wanderers: 93. Lee Steacy; 6. Keith Buckley, 21. Tim Clancy, 4. Conor Kenna, 10. Karl Moore; 3. John Sullivan; 7. Ryan Brennan, 22. Darragh Noone, 8. Mark Salmon. 23. Jason Marks; 9. Aaron Greene. Subs: Gary McCabe for Noone (74); Ger Pender for Marks (78); Kevin Lynch for Sullivan (87). Not used: Ryan Coulter, Derek Foran, Jake Ellis, Anto Flood.
Referee: Graham Kelly.
Venue: Dalymount Park, Phibsborough, Dublin.