McGlade's magic as hat-trick helps Wanderers to a precious three points
Soccer, SSE Airtricity League First Division: Bray Wanderers 3 Drogheda United 1
Dylan McGlade re-found his finishing touch at just the right time for Bray Wanderers as he earned a match ball for himself and three points for the Seagulls.
A return of just one goal in five games had lead Bray on a grim run of results and McGlade himself hadn't found the net since the opening day of the season but he changed that in dramatic fashion on Friday.
He tucked away a penalty for the opener and earned his second goal just before half time after forcing a defender into a mistake and punishing him in ruthless fashion.
Luke Gallagher pulled a goal back for Drogheda on 52 minutes and there was some squeaky bum moments for the hosts until McGlade slammed home his third in the closing minutes to emphatically seal the victory.
It was a very tepid start by both sides. Cian Kavanagh registered the first shot of the contest after two minutes with a strike that zipped along the surface from 25 yards but Gabriel Sava confidently waved it behind.
Hometown boy Dylan Barnett played a lovely slide-rule pass down the left flank to pick out Jake Ellis' after 12 minutes.
Ellis looked up and decided against shooting from the very tight angle but his chip to the back post intended for Dean O'Halloran evaded the winger.
The first chance of the match was produced on 14 minutes. Killian Cantwell floated the ball forward and Ellis' excellent first-time flick released O'Halloran down the right flank.
He spotted and picked out the run of Richie Purdy into the box but the midfielder's touch saw the ball whizz over the crossbar.
Dylan McGlade hadn't found the net since the opening day of the season when he netted from the penalty spot to mark his debut and that was precisely how he ended his barren spell too.
Jake Ellis crossed from the right and O'Halloran looked to latch onto it but was bundled over by Kevin Farragher. McGlade tucked the spot kick in via the post.
A cross from the right by O'Halloran was cleverly flicked on by Ellis and Gratzer looked very worried as it dropped over his head but it looped wide of the far stick.
Wanderers wanted a second penalty just shy of the half hour mark when they carved Drogheda open with a quarter of very quick, neat passes. Ellis burst onto the last pass and appeared to be shoved over by Luke McNally but David Dunne waved away the home side's protests.
Gary Cronin's men doubled their advantage just before the interval. McGlade was pressurizing Luke McNally and he got his reward as the defender panicked and coughed up possession to Bray's number 10 who ensured he inflicted maximum punishment by holding off McNally before drilling a fine finish into the far corner.
Killian Cantwell, deployed at right-back on Friday, endured a 40-minute self-inflicted tightrope walk when he kicked the ball away and got booked on 50 minutes which meant that Drogheda tried to run down his flank as often as they could.
Drogs would half the deficit two minutes later. Cian Kavanagh played a short corner to Conor Kane who returned it to Kavanagh.
His cross was flicked high into the night sky by Stephen Meaney which prompted Sava to charge from his line. The goalkeeper failed to get a hand near the ball though and this allowed Luke Gallagher to nip in and head home.
McGlade already had the scent of a hat-trick in his nostrils when he turned 30 yards out and advanced on goal but his drilled effort was parried and gathered at the second attempt by Gratzer.
Sava was counting his blessings on 64 when he raced out to meet James Brown but Brown slipped it inside to Hyland before Sava reached him. The Drogs skipper, with only defenders on the line to beat, saw his initial shot inadvertently blocked by Mark Doyle and Darragh Gibbons blocked Hyland's follow-up.
The anxiety amongst the Seagulls followers seemed to be growing by the minute but Dylan McGlade eased all nerves as he secured the match ball and the victory three minutes from time.
Luke Nolan found McGlade inside the area and the attacker darted past his man before unleashing a rocket of a shot that bulged the far car corner from a very tight angle.
Bray Wanderers: 1. Gabriel Sava; 4. Killian Cantwell, 2. Hugh Douglas, 15. Darragh Gibbons, 3. Dylan Barnett; 7. Dean O'Halloran, 6. Paul Keegan, 24. Richie Purdy, 11. Derek Daly; 10. Dylan McGlade; 14. Jake Ellis. SUBS: Luka Lovic for Purdy (65); Cian Maher for Daly (73); Luke Nolan for Ellis (84). Not used: Adam Hayden, Sean Heaney, Andrew McGovern, Conor Behan.
Drogheda United: 12. Luca Gratzer; 5. Kevin Farragher, 6. Luke Gallagher, 17. Luke McNally; 2. James Brown, 16. Cian Kavanagh, 11. Jake Hyland, 4. Mark Hughes, 3. Conor Kane; 14. Mark Doyle; 15. Stephen Meaney. SUBS: Luke Heeney for Farragher (41); Sean Brennan for Hyland (71); Jordan Adeyemo for Kavanagh (76). Not used: Daniel Grace, Sean Trimble, Eoin McPhillips, James Clarke.
Referee: David Dunne.
Venue: Carlisle Grounds, Bray.