No problem for Houston
Bray Wanderers 4 UCD 0
On a cold night by the sea, Bray's hearts were warmed by a magnificent performance from Sean Houston.
Energetic around the park and jealously protective of possession, the 21-year-old Donegal man ticked every box, scoring one goal with his right foot, another with his left and the third with his head.
Yet having discovered such an uncut diamond, Bray now must be wondering if he will be exported -- as has been the tradition.
Another tradition is their adherence to an expansive game-plan, a belief centred on their manager Pat Devlin's coaching philosophy and one which suits this group of young, talented players.
This was evident within eight minutes of the kick-off when midfielder Houston timed, and angled, his run into the penalty area perfectly, his arrival coinciding with Jake Kelly's low cross. Houston's subsequent, powerful shot to the roof of Ger Barron's goal confirmed his class.
While UCD's response was positive -- Darren Quigley denying Darren Meenan a goal and the post denying Paul Corry -- their ability to sustain an interest in this game disappeared within three minutes of the restart, as Houston disappeared from his marker to connect with Gary Dempsey's corner and make it 2-0.
Having released Dane Massey with a beautiful pass minutes later, Houston saw the defender lob his shot over the bar and promptly showed his colleague how goals are scored with a placed shot in the 58th minute, controlling Dempsey's pass with his right foot before he curled it into the net with his left.
Fair to say then that in Houston, UCD had a problem. Jake Kelly's 68th-minute goal gave them a fourth problem.
Bray Wanderers -- Quigley; O'Connor, Prendergast, Mitchell, Massey; Dempsey (G Kelly 76); Shields, Houston; Zambra, J Kelly (Butler 83); O'Neill ( Mulroy 48).
UCD -- Barron; P O'Connor, D O'Connor, Leahy, Ledwith (Boyle 61); Marshall (Lyons 61), Creevy, Corry (McCabe 70), Meehan; Doyle, Rusk.
REF -- D McKeon (Dublin).