Gods smiling on Bray
Seagulls put in brave display to earn a draw
BRAY WANDERERS have defied the odds on a couple of occasions recently to come away with a point when a loss seemed inevitable.
BOHEMIANS 0 BRAY WANDERERS 0
Having already claimed hard-earned draws with Shamrock Rovers and table-toppers Sligo Rovers in the past month, Friday's 0-0 result with Bohemians will be welcomed by Pat Devlin when it seemed only the Gods were keeping the Phibsboro side at bay.
Darren Quigley, in the Bray goal, twice had the crossbar to thank after the home side went close each side of the break.
The second of those occurred only 10 minutes from the death when substitute Dinny Corcoran beat Quigley to a long ball before he lobbed over the stranded goalkeeper. His effort bounced off the bar and stayed out.
It was the closest Bohs came in a match they dominated but didn't have the killer instinct to put Bray to the sword.
Without the attacking exploits of the suspended Kieran 'Marty' Waters and John Mulroy, Bray found themselves under the cosh for much of the 90 minutes and while they clearly rode their luck at times, they did defend well and had the chance to snatch a much-needed three points.
But they will be delighted to have escaped with one and remain seven points clear of the drop zone with Dundalk looming over their shoulder.
That chance arrived on the half hour mark when Adam Hanlon crossed low into the Bohemians' box. A mix-up between defender Evan McMillan and goalkeeper Andy McNulty allowed the ball to pop up into the path of Sean Houston. He struck goalward but some desperate defending saw the ball cleared off the line.
Outside of that, the visitors had to contend themselves with half-chances as Aaron Callaghan's men crowded out midfield and dominated possession for the remainder.
Indeed Bohs could have taken the lead after only five minutes when McMillan's long ball picked out Ryan McEvoy deep in the Bray half. He took a touch before his powerful drive clipped the top of the bar - Quigley looked well beaten.
But that was the Gypsies best chance of the half, despite their dominance of ball and territory. Keith Ward pulled the strings from midfield until his substitution for Stephen Traynor on 73 minutes. Time and time again he went long, trying to play in Dwayne Wilson with balls over the top, but the ploy failed to produce any real chances.
Ward went close himself with a 25 yard free-kick that rattled the side-netting before Keith Buckley and Robert Lopes both saw their wayward efforts fail to test Quigley as the first-half grinded to a halt.
There was a brief revival for the visitors initially after the restart.
Jason Byrne found himself isolated and without support in the absence of Waters and endured a fruitless night at his former club. However he came very close to dispossessing Andy McNulty as the keeper dwelt on the ball in his box before re-gathering.
Another ex-Bohemians man Lee Dixon, who left the just last month, threatened next for Pat Devlin's side but his shot from outside the box flashed over.
After that, Bohs laid siege to the Bray goal for the remainder with little respite for the resilient defence. Kevin Feely spurned a glorious chance to put Bohemians in front when his headed effort was three yards too high. Keith Ward picked out the defender, who was completely unmarked, with an inviting ball in from a free kick.
Bray played their get out of jail card again five minutes later. This time it was former Seagull Dave Mulcahy who was the guilty party. After Wilson slipped the ball inside, the midfielder didn't attack the ball with any real menace and a combination of Quigley and Shane O'Connor meant the game remained deadlocked.
Keith Buckley got on the end of a Karl Moore cross but late on but couldn't turn the ball home. Stephen Traynor and Sean Houston exchanged efforts at either end before Corcoran saw his lob denied by the crossbar.
Four minutes of injury time were added on but the best the home side could muster was a speculative effort from Wilson that sailed well over Quigley's goal. Bray had hung on for another hard-earned point on the road.