Decent showing by Seagulls against Bohs ahead of season opener
Bray Wanderers 0 Bohemians 2
They may have rounded off their pre-season campaign with a defeat but Gary Cronin has every reason to be pleased with his side's preparations ahead of next week's big kick-off.
A goalkeeping misjudgement and a late Keith Ward goal saw Bohemians run out 0-2 winners at a chilly Carlisle Grounds on Friday evening in front of Cabinteely boss Pat Devlin but Seagulls fans have plenty of reasons for optimism.
The atmosphere was one of positivity and excitement which has been missing from the seaside venue for quite a while and although the result didn't go their way, that matters very, very little in the grand scheme of things.
Bohs worked a decent opportunity in the 13th minute as Kevin Devaney whipped in from the left. Former Seagull Keith Buckley probably thought he'd returned to haunt his ex-employers but Sean Heaney timed his intervention brilliantly and blocked behind.
Recently-signed Luka Lovic proved he can a pass very astutely in the 17th minute as he played a pivotal part as Bray threatened. Paul Keegan tapped a free kick to the ex-UCD man and his eye-of-a-needle pass split the left back and centre half but Luke Nolan's driven low cross was hacked clear before Joe Doyle could pounce.
The wind at the Carlisle Grounds on Friday evening was wicked and it would claim something of an assist at the expense of Greystones' Adam Hayden. Darragh Leahy threw the ball to Devaney and Hayden called 'keeper' as the cross swerved into the centre but it would float over him and drop for Luke Wade Slater to stoop and nod into the empty net.
Wanderers could have levelled just before the interval. Dylan McGlade's measured pass picked out Jake Ellis who made space with some fine footwork. He could have been selfish but instead he cleverly picked out Luke Nolan who had bombed up the blindside. Unfortunately he showed all the finishing abilities of a right-back as his always-rising shot flew into the night sky.
Cronin had once again opted for a 4-4-1-1 formation so it would appear that it has been set in stone. Jake Ellis found himself operating on the right flank with Luka Lovic seemingly the man encouraged to push on and support Joe Doyle.
Bray's pressing and work-rate was excellent; as it has been all throughout pre-season.
The Seagulls would concede a second goal for the third time in the closing minutes.
Dinny Corcoran, who netted a hat-trick at the same venue in 2018, should have netted five minutes from time. A Bray defender was guilty of an under-hit backpass and Corcoran was in the right place at the right time to intercept.
He took the ball in his stride and looked to take it around Gabriel Sava but seemed to dither on the ball and Bray's defence recovered to smother the danger.
A second goal did arrive within a minute though as Peter Adigun was rewarded for his trickery down the left flank when his centre found Keith Ward who turned it past Save from close-range.
Bohemians now begin their 2019 league campaign at home to Finn Harps on Friday, whilst Cronin's gang must wait another wait to get their teeth into Cabinteely.
Bray Wanderers: 16. Adam Hayden; 22. Luke Nolan, 4. Killian Cantwell, 5. Sean Heaney, 3. Dylan Barnett; 14. Jake Ellis, 7. Brandon McCann, 26. Paul Keegan, 10. Dylan McGlade; 17. Luka Lovic; 9. Joe Doyle. SUBS: Gabriel Sava for Hayden (66); Cian Maher for Jake Ellis (72); Jamie Crilly for McCann (78); Cian Walsh for Cantwell (85); Conor Behan for Lovic (85);
Bohemians: 1. James Talbot; 2. Derek Pender, 5. Rob Cornwall, 3. Darragh Leahy; 27. Luke Wade Slater, 16. Keith Buckley, 14. Conor Levingston, 11. Kevin Devaney; 10. Keith Ward; 9. Dinny Corcoran.SUBS: Peter Adigun for Leahy (H/T); Brandon Bermingham for Slater (84);
Referee: Neil Doyle.
Venue: Carlisle Grounds, Bray.