Sunday 25 February 2018

Bray bounce back with Drogs scalp

Bray’s Dylan Connolly celebrates his goal at the Carlisle on Monday night
Bray’s Dylan Connolly celebrates his goal at the Carlisle on Monday night
Seán Brennan can't stop Dylan Connolly scoring

Daniel Gorman

Two early first half goals ensured that Bray Wanderers bounced back from defeat to claim three points in front of watching Republic of Ireland manager Martin O'Neill.

Bray Wanderers 2 Drogheda United 1

Wingers Aaron Greene and Dylan Connolly both displayed their danger to craft a 2-0 lead for the Seagulls by the 21st minute and Harry Kenny's side never looked in danger of relinquishing it.

Ciaran McGuigan did pull a goal back within two minutes of Drogheda conceding the second but a red card for Luke Gallagher on 64 minutes killed off the tame challenge from the visitors and made it two wins from two at the Carlisle Grounds and nine points from a possible 12 to leave Bray tied for second in the table.

There were two changes to the side that suffered defeat against Bohemians.

Ryan Robinson debuted at the expense of Hughie Douglas and Tim Clancy dropped to the bench to make room for Derek Foran as Kenny looked to plug a few holes in his leaky defence.

It was almost the perfect start for the away side.

Gareth McAffery's free kick was parried by Peter Cherrie and Jake Hyland looked to have swept it home but Conor Kenna hooked it off the line at the very last moment.

Greene struck his second Bray goal a minute later. He picked up possession on the right flank, cut inside, headed for goal and drilled in a powerful shot past Stephen McGuinness.

Drogheda were almost 2-0 down inside the opening 10 minutes.

A Kevin Lynch corner funnelled all the way through the back post where John Sullivan was a fraction away from tapping home.

Greene would turn provider for Wanderer's second in the 21st minute.

From inside his own half, he tossed a ball in behind the United defence for Connolly. He and Deasy were both competing for the ball, Deasy got a touch but it wasn't enough to perturb Connolly who lobbed the advancing McGuinness from 22 yards.

A lifeline was snatched by Drogheda within two minutes. Marc Griffin whipped in a corner from the left and, having left Flood on the ground, centre-half Ciaran McGuigan showed a striker's finish as his volley rocketed into the top corner.

Connolly is meant to be the speed demon at Bray but Greene proved he was no slouch on 50 minutes as he collected a clearance from his own defence, charged all the way up to the Drogheda penalty are and delivered a cross that Flood was a whisker away from converting.

With both of Bray's centre-halves booked by the hour mark, they were understandably hesitant as McAffery ran at them in full flight but he was to be eventually denied by Cherrie as the Scot blocked his near-post effort behind.

Drogheda's uphill battle became severely steeper in the 64th minute when defender Luke Gallagher collected a second yellow card for a foul on Connolly.

Greene thought he was about to grab his second of the tie on 69 minutes when the ball fell to him 10 yards but a despairing block repelled his strike.

Connolly was also hungry for more and in the 90th minute he did manage to tiptoe his way around Co. Wicklow native Stephen McGuinness but the narrow angle got the better of him.

United failed to ask any probing questions in the latter stages of a defence that had conceded six goals in their previous two fixtures.

Bray are next in action on Saturday evening as they travel west to take on basement side Sligo Rovers.

Scorers - Bray Wanderers 2 (Greene 4, Connolly 21), Drogheda United 1 (McGuigan 23):

Bray Wanderers: 1. Peter Cherrie; 24. Ryan Robinson, 4. Conor Kenna, 5. Tim Clancy, 19. Kevin Lynch; 3. John Sullivan, 6. Keith Buckley; 9. Aaron Greene, 11. Gary McCabe, 16. Dylan Connolly; 20. Anto Flood. Subs: Conor Earley for Robinson (65); Mark Salmon for Buckley (69); Ryan Brennan for McCabe (79). Not used: Lee Steacy, Tim Clancy, Darragh Noone, Jamie Aherne.

Drogheda United: 1. Stephen McGuinness; 2. Colm Deasy, 12. Luke Gallagher, 15. Ciaran McGuigan, 18. Conor Kane; 16. Gareth McCaffery, 6. Jake Hyland, 27. Ryan McEvoy, 14. Adam Wixted; 9. Sean Brennan; 7. Marc Griffin.Subs: Lloyd Buckley for Wixted (65); Thomas Byrne for McCaffery (71); Sean Thornton for S. Brennan (74). Not used: Shane Elworthy, Dylan Sweeney, Stephen Dunne, Jamie Hollywood.

Referee: Neil Doyle.

Venue: Carlisle Grounds, Bray.

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