First blood to Ian Ryan as Bray Wanderers get the better of Wexford FC

Ethan Boyle putting Wexford into a 2-1 lead.

Wexford's Darragh Levingston steals the ball from Luka Lovic.

Ex-Bray player Hugh Douglas holding off a challenge from Chris Lyons.

thumbnail: Ethan Boyle putting Wexford into a 2-1 lead.
thumbnail: Wexford's Darragh Levingston steals the ball from Luka Lovic.
thumbnail: Ex-Bray player Hugh Douglas holding off a challenge from Chris Lyons.
Daniel GormanWexford People

Bray Wanderers 3 Wexford FC 2

A HELTER-SKELTER match in the Carlisle Grounds on Friday saw Bray Wanderers lose a lead, regain it, extend their unbeaten run but, most importantly, return to winning ways in this SSE Airtricity League of Ireland First Division derby against Wexford FC.

With all the talk of Ian Ryan up against his former club pre-match, it was two men with no Wexford connections that did the damage for the Seagulls. Ben Feeney fired Bray ahead and then made it 2-2 after efforts from Aaron Dobbs and Ethan Boyle had temporarily turned the game on its head.

And that unlikely hero, Cole Omorehiomwan, was the match-winner as he fired home from open play in the second-half.

It was an action-packed first period that laughed in the face of the tricky conditions.

After just six minutes, Bray hit the front. Dane Massey fizzed a pass into Chris Lyons into the centre circle and he cleverly flicked on to release Ger Shortt.

He was tangling with a Wexford defender who made a very good tackle, but the ball broke to Ben Feeney. He held his man off and slotted to the corner of the net.

Max Murphy’s confidence is understandably high following his stunning goal at the RSC against Waterford, and he was hungry for another goal after eight minutes.

A cross from the Bray left was nodded away and Murphy spanked it goalwards – sending it fizzing over. He felt it took a nick off an arm, but his appeals were ignored.

Before the tenth minute, Wexford were level. The impressive Mark Hanratty won it wide on the left and moved it inside to veteran Danny Furlong.

His strike from distance could only be parried by Alex Moody, and Aaron Dobbs was in the right place at the right time to convert the rebound.

Feeney could have restored Bray’s lead very quickly. After Wexford had defended a Bray corner, Murphy whipped in a secondary cross and Feeney’s glancing header saw the ball fly inches wide of Noel Heffernan’s goal.

Len O’Sullivan – one of five ex-Wexford players in the Bray line-up – injured himself when he collided with the advertising hoarding after mis-controlling a pass, and a corner down Bray’s left minutes later saw Wexford hit the front.

On 33 minutes, James Crawford whipped in. It was impossible to assess what went on, but Wexford fans began to celebrate as the ball emerged from the sea of bodies but trickled inches wide for another corner.

Crawford delivered again and it either sailed straight in or did so via the subtlest of glances from Ethan Boyle. Either way, the visitors had the lead.

Ger Shortt was agonisingly close to drawing Bray level with a first league goal. It was chipped to him on the right of the penalty area and his powerful half-volley took a nick before kissing the crossbar.

From that corner, Wexford failed to clear their lines and Lyons poked wide from close-range. Bray screamed for a corner, but they didn’t get it.

Alex Moody seemed to be the prime target for the travelling support’s jeering, but he made a vital save on 36 minutes. Wexford broke and Dobbs outmuscled Omorehiomwan, and suddenly it was two attackers versus one defender.

He slipped it to Furlong, who returned it to Dobbs, but Moody spread himself well and blocked.

Having come so close to going 3-1 ahead, within 180 seconds it was 2-2. Harry Groome played a slide-rule pass as the Wexford defence parted like the Red Sea, and Feeney coolly popped the ball between Heffernan’s legs to square it up.

The tale of the second-half was that the Seagulls wanted to take the game to Wexford, with the visitors happy to await an opportunity to catch Bray on the break.

Joe Power was desperately unlucky not to score on 64 minutes. He had shooting space on the edge of the area but laid it to Harry Groome.

Groome drew men to him before deliciously back-heeling it back to Power who now had time aplenty, and his measured drive cannoned back off the post with Heffernan completely beaten.

The woodwork would not save Wexford in the 69th minute. Shortt held it up and slipped to the overlapping Murphy.

He dug out a cross to the back post. A desperate flailing save from Heffernan denied Feeney a hat-trick but then – of all people – Omorehiomwan was on hand in the six-yard box to drill it to the partially-guarded net.

There was a notable occurrence in the 67th minute when 15-year-old Kaylem Harnett was introduced for his league debut, with the Ireland under-age international having already featured for Wexford in their Leinster Senior Cup win over St. Patrick’s Athletic.

Wexford FC: Noel Heffernan; Karl Chambers, Ethan Boyle (capt.), Hugh Douglas, James Crawford; Aaron Doran, Corban Piper, Darragh Levingston, Mark Hanratty; Aaron Dobbs, Danny Furlong. Subs. - Kaylem Harnett for Doran (67), Jordan Adeyemo for Furlong (67), Seán Fitzpatrick for Dobbs (80), Jordon Tallon for Chambers (80), also Colm Cox, Ben Lynch, Matthew Dunne.

Bray Wanderers: Alex Moody; Max Murphy, Cole Omorehiomwan, Dane Massey, Len O’Sullivan; Joe Power, Luka Lovic, Harry Groome; Ger Shortt, Chris Lyons, Ben Feeney. Subs. - Eoin Farrell for O’Sullivan (26), Conor Crowley for Power (76), Conor Davis for Shortt (76), Jake Walker for Lyons (81), also Stephen McGuinness, Jack Hudson, Callum Thompson, Zach Donoghue, Guillermo Almirall.

Referee: Gavin Colfer (Wicklow).


Galway Utd 6 6 0 0 16 2 18

Bray Wderers 6 3 3 0 10 6 12

Cobh Rblrs 6 3 2 1 9 5 11

Athlone Tn 6 3 1 2 9 8 10

Waterford FC 5 2 2 1 7 4 8

Wexford FC 6 2 1 3 8 9 7

Finn Harps 6 1 3 2 6 8 6

Longford Tn 6 0 3 3 2 6 3

Treaty Utd 5 0 2 3 3 8 2

Kerry FC 6 0 1 5 4 18 1