Wednesday 21 February 2018

McCabe's the man for Wanderers

Bray Wanderers 1 Galway United 0

Aaron Greene of Bray Wanderers battles for possession with David Cawley of Galway United
Aaron Greene of Bray Wanderers battles for possession with David Cawley of Galway United
Gary McCabe bursts between Galway United duo David Cawley and Lee Grace

A league clean sheet finally landed in the lap of Bray Wanderers and lifted them to third spot in the process.

They did it in challenging circumstances as they had third choice-left back Alan Kehoe in from the start, they lost Hugh Douglas to injury and also had captain Conor Kenna dismissed early in the second half.

Ace marksman Gary McCabe notched the only strike of the game - his seventh of the campaign - in the 35th minute to earn maximum points for the Seagulls and propel them to third in the table.

McCabe is only bested in the goalscoring charts by Cork City's Sean Maguire as his sensational start to the season continued at the Carlisle Grounds on Friday.

The trequartista got a stroke of luck for his goal as Galway United goalkeeper parried his tame effort and the no. 11 netted at the second time of asking.

Kenna got his marching orders in the 62nd minute for a second bookable offence but basement side Galway United - with four league goals to their name this season (three less than McCabe) - simply could not muster a decent attack despite having 28 minutes plus stoppage time to enforce their numerical advantage.

Bray boss Harry Kenny made only one alteration from the side that overcame Derry as Alan Kehoe replaced the injured Conor Earley.

Wanderers stuck to their tried and tested 4-2-3-1 whilst struggling Shane Keegan tried a 3-4-3 formation but it provided little inspiration.

Dylan Connolly had a frustrating evening but the first opportunity fell to him and his half-volley from a narrow angle forced Conor Winn into a smart save after five minutes.

The winger had a half-hearted appeal for a penalty shortly afterwards before McCabe's pleas fell on deaf ears on 26 minutes when it did appear he had a case.

In a training ground routine, McCabe looped around the block of men in the middle to collect a cutback from Aaron Greene's free. He shimmied past one man and was preparing to shoot when a nudge sent him tumbling but John McLoughlin wasn't feeling sympathetic.

McCabe's woes quickly washed away as he opened the scoring on 35 minutes. Aaron Greene nodded on Tim Clancy's long ball and the midfielder nudged ahead of his man to push a weak shot goalwards. Winn meekly parried it and McCabe slid in to notch his seventh of the season.

Hugh Douglas was a tad fortunate not to hand United a route back into the tie four minutes before the break. Visiting captain Colm Horgan pushed a lovely ball into Ronan Murray's path and he helped it onto Conor Melody.

The attacker looked to take his time and pick his spot but as he was trying to get a shot away, Douglas had a few strong grips of his jersey but it went unnoticed by McLoughlin.

That proved to be Douglas' last action and his departure saw Jamie Aherne introduced. That meant Greene dropping to the right flank and Buckley sinking into the right-back role.

Vice-captain Tim Clancy played a captain's role when Kenna exited but he almost cost his side on 56 minutes. He intercepted a ball and powered forward with it at his feet. He got to the final third before being dispossessed and a break from Galway saw Murray play the ball into the space vacated by Clancy. Marc Ludden latched onto it and let rip on his left foot but Mark Salmon came out of nowhere to launch himself into a sliding tackle that blocked the effort.

Bray hit straight back with a counter of their own. Greene darted down the right and slid it across to Connolly but he was thwarted by Winn and Horgan hacked clear before any Bray players could react.

Kenna headed for an early shower six minutes later as he picked up a second yellow for a foul on Horgan and that meant Derek Foran was introduced for earlier substitute Jamie Aherne.

McCabe could have killed the tie off as makeshift right-back Buckley cut a ball back to him 15 yards out. In the form he's in, you would expect McCabe to tuck it away but he scooped it horribly over.

Galway have only managed four league strikes this season it was painstakingly obvious as they trudged to another blank.

Wanderers celebrated a third victory in eight days on a night where they weren't at their best but they didn't have to be.

Bray Wanderers: 1. Peter Cherrie; 2. Hugh Douglas, 21. Tim Clancy, 4. Conor Kenna, 15. Alan Kehoe; 3. John Sullivan, 8. Mark Salmon; 6. Keith Buckley, 11. Gary McCabe, 16. Dylan Connolly; 9. Aaron Greene. Subs: Jamie Aherne for Douglas (43); Derek Foran for Aherne (64); Ryan Brennan for McCabe (71). Not used: Lee Steacy, Darragh Noone, Jason Marks, Ger Pender.

Galway United: 1. Conor Winn; 5. Lee Grace, 57. Stephen Folan, 6. Alex Byrne; 2. Colm Horgan, 4. Paul Sinnott, 8. David Cawley, 3. Marc Ludden; 11. Conor Melody, 18. Jesse Devers, 19. Ronan Murray. Subs: Vinny Faherty for Byrne (70); Gary Shanahan for Sinnott (70). Not used: Ciaran Nugent Gary Kinnehan, Robert Spellman, Aaron Conway, Maurice Nugent.

Referee: John McLoughlin.

Attendance: 477.

Venue: Carlisle Grounds, Bray.

Bray People

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