Positive run ends with thrashing
Bray Wanderers 1
Galway United 5
Galway United provided Bray Wanderers with another evening to forget as they ran in five goals in yet another thrashing at the Carlisle Grounds on Friday night.
Three of those efforts arrived in the last 17 minutes to give the scoreline a harsh reflection but there is no denying that the Tribesmen were the superior side.
They cruised to a 0-2 lead in the first half before Darragh Lynch pulled one back. But Galway flexed their attacking muscles late on to ensure they’ve taken nine points from a possible nine against the Seagulls this season.
It was a nightmare start for the hosts. Max Hemmings picked the ball up on the right-hand side and whipped over a cross. Stephen Walsh met it with a flicked header, and it clipped the inside of the far post and trickled in seemingly in slow motion after just 38 seconds.
There was almost an instant reply for Bray when Rob Manley smashed an effort goalwards from outside the area and it whistled a whisker wide.
A poor back header almost gifted Galway a second in the seventh minute. It was undercooked and Ed McCarthy was on the hunt, pouncing on the loose ball but his poke dribbled inches wide.
Bray earned a free kick in a promising position on 16 minutes when Kieran ‘Marty’ Waters was flattened. Conor Clifford got his effort through the wall and Conor Kearns played it safe as he palmed it behind.
Galway doubled their lead midway through the first half. David Hurley won the ball back in the middle and fed Stephen Walsh who had a decision to make; drive on and take it to Bray or play in Wilson Waweru who was to his right. He opted for the latter and Waweru took a touch before drilling one towards Michael Kelly. It appeared to be straight down the middle but it evaded Kelly and Galway were cruising towards victory.
Referee Kevin O’Sullivan had a decision to make almost immediately after the restart as Rob Manley appeared to have broken through when Diego Portilla pulled him down. O’Sullivan selected the yellow card, with the presence of Killian Brouder covering perhaps Portilla’s saving grace.
There was almost a third for the visitors on the brink of half-time. Conor McCormack’s corner from the left was flicked on and then met on the volley by Walsh. He directed his strike right into the sea of bodies in the goalmouth though and it was blocked.
After a tame first half performance, Pat Devlin pulled no punches at the break as he hooked Callum Thompson, Keith Dalton and Darragh Levingston at the break to introduce Conor Knight, Karl Manahan and Darragh Lynch.
Two of those substitutes had immediate impacts. Darragh Lynch escaped down the left flank, but his effort was blocked by Kearns. It then seemed to ricochet off Lynch and Conor McCormack, but it dropped wide with Kearns prone when it really could have went anywhere.
Three minutes later, a cross from Paul Fox on the left was nodded down towards the bottom corner by the diminutive Conor Knight but Kearns was alert and shoveled it behind.
John Caulfield’s men almost killed off the tie completely shortly afterwards.
McCormack’s set-piece delivery was met by Brouder with Kelly beaten all ends up, but the crossbar denied him. It fell to Portilla, whose shot looked set to hit the back of the net only for it to deflect wide off Waweru.
But having come so close to being out of contention, Bray got themselves right back into contention in the 64th minute. With Galway having committed men forward, Bray broke rapidly down the left flank. Paul Fox looked up and delivered a dangerous cross that Lynch forced in after what seemed to be a fortunate deflection.
Those pair combined again just four minutes later. Lynch made a dart towards the near post this time to apply a glancing touch to Fox’s centre but it flashed across the face of goal.
All the momentum was with Bray now and Galway’s composure had been replaced with panic and they looked rattled.
But a fluke goal would take the sting out of this contest. Hemmings, with an assist to his name already, collected the ball wide on the right. He threw in a few stepovers to buy himself space and his cross looked to be severely overhit but then it dropped into the far corner. Cue a delighted Galway and a deflated Bray.
Wanderers’ misery was further compounded as Galway added a fourth. Manu Dimas pickpocketed Kevin Knight who expected to be awarded a free kick. No whistle came though so Dimas fed Walsh on the penalty spot, and he lashed home ferociously for his fourth goal of the season against the Co. Wicklow club.
The pain wasn’t over for Bray yet though. Francely Lomboto timed his run perfectly to remain onside and latch onto Dimas’ pass. Dan Blackbyrne slid in and fouled Lomboto.
He escaped punishment for his last-man challenge, but Bray did not escape further punishment as Hurley converted from 12 yards despite Kelly getting a touch to it.
Bray Wanderers: Michael Kelly; Daniel Blackbyrne, Jack Hudson, Kevin Knight, Paul Fox; Callum Thompson, Darragh Levingston, Conor Clifford, Keith Dalton; Kieran ‘Marty’ Waters; Rob Manley. Subs: Conor Knight for Thompson (H/T); Karl Manahan for Dalton (H/T); Darragh Lynch for Levingston (H/T); Eoin McPhillips for Waters (79); Vilius Labutis for Clifford (90). Not used: Stephen McGuinness, Jamie Callaghan, Zak O’Neill, Ugo Anny Nzekwue.
Galway United: Conor Kearns; Max Hemmings, Diego Portilla, Killian Brouder, Alex Murphy; Wilson Waweru, Conor McCormack, David Hurley Ed McCarthy; Ronan Manning; Stephen Walsh. Subs: Manu Dimas for Manning (57); Francely Lomboto for Waweru (70); Conor O’Keeffe for McCarthy (70); Jordan Adeyemo for Walsh (85); Charlie Lyons for Portilla (85). Not used: Matt Connor, Gary Boylan, Evan O’Connor, Shane Doherty.
Referee: Kevin O’Sullivan.
Venue: Carlisle Grounds, Bray.