Corcoran spoils Seagulls' party
DINNY Corcoran ensured that it was close, but not close enough for Bray Wanderers as he pinched two points from the Seagulls on Friday evening.
A first half penalty from Graham Kelly had looked to have earned Alan Mathews' side their second win of the season but in the 88th minute, Corcoran broke the offside trap to slot home past stand-in goalkeeper Stephen McGuinness.
Jake Kelly fractured his ankle as he earned the Wanderers penalty. Bohemians goalkeeper Dean Delany sliced through the winger, earning himself a red card and giving Kelly a penalty and a painful injury.
The ten men of Dalymount Park had no intentions of wilting away though and their ever-increasing pressure eventually took its toll, with Corcoran finding a way past the impressive McGuinness.
The baby-faced goalkeeper was the only change ordered by Mathews as he replaced the suspended Shane Redmond and he got off to a calming start; making a routine catch and an interception within three minutes of kick-off.
Having warmed him up, Bohemians then decided to test him. The ball was lifted over the Bray defence into Stephen Beattie's path and he met it with a crisp connection that forced McGuinness to go down at his near post and make a strong save.
Wanderers then got their first attack under their belt as the roaming Shane Byrne slipped a pass through the gap in the Bohemians backline. Jake Kelly was onto it but on his weaker foot, his shot was blocked behind.
Flowing football from the Seagulls almost teed up Graham Kelly for their next opportunity. A lovely chest pass from him initiated the move. David Cassidy then thumped a raking pass up to Ismahil Akinade and he casually laid it off to Graham Kelly but unfortunately, his shot did not match the build –up.
The visitors continued to shake things up and a barge in the back of Jake Kelly from former Seagulls captain Derek Pender spelled danger for his side. Dean Zambra's teasing delivery drew Delany out be he failed miserably in his attempts to dominate the ball. It fell to Akinade but the Nigerian native wasn't urgent enough when looking to shoot.
Delany's evening quickly went from bad to worse. As Jake Kelly hounded after the ball in the penalty area, Delany hit the panic button and whalloped the attacker; leaving him in a heap on the ground. A red card followed as well as nearly seven minutes of treatment time for Kelly, who was eventually stretchered off and rushed to hospital.
Graham Kelly showed he was unnerved by the prolonged delay as he decisively slammed his penalty past replacement shot-stopper Lee Murphy.
Wanderers wanted to strike while the iron was hot and a subtle one-two between Shane Byrne and Akinade set the former up for a pop at goal but his weak effort gave Murphy an easy save.
A Hail Mary pass from Rob Maloney landed favourably for Dave Scully but his lob lacked both speed and direction and never threatened the goal.
Bohemians did threaten the goal on the stroke of half time. Darragh Reynor's free kick found the head of Aidan Price and his flick saw the ball kiss the top of the crossbar.
Having nearly found the net at one end, Price nearly cost his side a goal at the other two minutes into the second period. He was casual in possession and Akinade pounced to block his clearance. Akinade then won the footrace and sent a shot looping over Murphy's head but it bounced wide as Wanderers fans' hearts fluttered.
Bohemians manager Owen Heary emptied his bench as he looked to salvage a point; bringing on Kevin Devaney and Jason Byrne.
Stephen Beattie forced McGuinness into a save in the 64th minute after being found by Craig Walsh. Beattie had the Bray custodian in his sights but the save was a straightforward one for the youngster.
One of the home replacements – Devany – thought he'd created the equaliser on 75 minutes. He was in possession midway inside Bray's half and he spotted Beattie's run down Maloney's blindside – something Maloney did not spot. In desperation, Maloney hauled him to the floor and Bohs fans were incensed that his punishment was only yellow.
Maloney's game ended three minutes later. Shane O'Neill replaced him and Dean Zambra filled in at left-back as Mathews looked to solidify the defence and see the remaining 12 minutes out.
But it did not pan out that way. With Bray Wanderers just two minutes from three points, Craig Walsh picked the ball up, picked out Corcoran and he managed to glide around McGuinness and turn the ball into the empty net. Heartbreak for the visitors, delight for the hosts.
Top Form: Stephen McGuinness (Bray Wanderers): Can be a very happy young man. Made it look easy.
Stephen McGuinness: 8/10: Can someone check his birth certificate? Played like a season professional.
Shane O'Connor: 7/10: He had Karl Moore under wraps. No-nonsense performance from the Ashford man.
David Webster: 7/10: Generally, he was in control of things for Bray. Could see his passion as he gave a few team-mates tongue lashings for wastefulness.
Adam Mitchell: 7/10: Coyly tried to get Stephen Beattie sent off but the referee wasn't quite buying it.
Rob Maloney: 5/10: Bohemians asked big questions of him and he didn't have the answers. Mathews withdrew him late on.
David Cassidy: 7/10: He does things other people can't even see. Always looking for that killer ball.
Graham Kelly: 8/10: Took his goal well. Having started the season on the bench, it's difficult to see him returning there anytime soon.
Dean Zambra: 7/10: The pint-sized midfielder even enjoyed a few forays into Bohemians' area on Friday.
Jake Kelly: 7/10: Had looked very good until his injury. We wish him a speedy recovery.
Shane Byrne: 8/10: A calming presence throughout. He stroked several key passes together and tried to instil calmness late on as others panicked.
Ismahil Akinade: 7/10: Did his best but needed more support. Won more than his fair share of headers and chased everything.
Dave Scully: 5/10: Bohemians fans jeered throughout and you could see why as Scully was tepid in possession and wasteful when shooting.
Shane O'Neill: 6/10: Had no chance to impress. A rushed pass ended one promising counter attack though.