Monday 19 February 2018

Bray open up five-point gap

Despite the fact that we're currently in mid-May, a menacing cloud hovered above Turner's Cross Stadium for the entire game, threatening to burst and explode in rain but never actually doing so.

But as far as Bray Wanderers and their supporters are concerned however, it could have, and they wouldn't have even noticed as they were too busy revelling in their first win on Leeside for 26 years.

Despite the fact that the Rebels dominated virtually every blade of grass they were unable to finish their chances, eventually slumping to a 3-1 defeat at the hands of the Seagulls, who now enjoy a five point gap between themselves and basement club Shelbourne.

Bray were effective whenever they broke forward, with John Mulroy and Kieran Waters the two stand out performers. Mulroy operated in the role behind the striker and was at the forefront of every move, while Waters was used to devastating effect on the wing, bagging himself a brace.

They will be absolutely overjoyed having picked up a crucial away victory in their fight to get away from the foot of the league table, their first time picking up three points in Cork since 1987.

They didn't really deserve to claim all the points and return home triumphant based on the balance of play, but as we all know football is a results game, and if you don't take your chances you will fail to secure a win.

With barely three minutes elapsed on the clock, the visitors had seized the lead. Ismahil Akinade sprinted down the right wing before pulling the trigger, only to see his attempt parried by Mark McNulty. John Mulroy then pounced on the loose ball before firing it into the net, sending the small band of away supporters into raptures.

City, spurred on by having their 1993 title winning side in the stand watching, responded well, and dominated the rest of the first half. They failed to find the killer touch in the final third however, and took 23 minutes to really cause a problem.

John Dunleavy crowned a swift attacking move with a cushioned pass to Shane Duggan, who was unable to steady himself enough to direct his effort on target. Their visitors had been kept extremely quiet since propelling themselves in front, but came within inches of doubling their advantage when John Mulroy glanced wide following Kieran Waters' cross.

Eight minutes before the break, the best chance of the first period materialised. Gearoid Morrissey, usually a central player but shifted out to the wing on Friday evening, came inside off the left before sending a superbly struck attempt whistling agonisingly wide of the upright.

The Rebel Army got their deserved equaliser two minutes after the restart, and once again it was Gearoid Morrissey who was at the forefront. Ian Turner whipped in an inch perfect cross from the right wing, which the Cork-born midfield player coolly side-footed into the bottom corner of the net.

Right on the hour mark, they came close to getting their noses in front. After sizing up a free kick poised at an obtuse angle on the edge of the box, Ian Turner, who created the first goal, tried his luck, with the final effort ending up just wide of the post.

Six minutes later, Bray had re-established their lead – although somewhat undeservedly. Gary Dempsey threaded through an excellent ball to find Kieran 'Marty' Waters in the penalty area, who turned superbly, losing Dan Murray, before calmly slotting it into the bottom corner of the net.

Cork City seemed frustrated beyond measure, pushing forward in a desperate fashion with what didn't seem to be credible self-belief. As if to sum up the evening, substitute Daryl Horgan cut the ball across to Gearoid Morrissey, who miscued his effort and sent it flying over the bar.

Then, in the dying seconds of the evening, Bray got their third and well and truly killed the game. John Mulroy played a delicate pass to the feet of Waters, who once again showed his speed to get away from his man and bury the ball into the back of the net, crowning an excellent night's work for Pat Devlin and his men.

Top Form: John Mulroy (Bray Wanderers): On top form. Long may it continue.

Venue: Turner's Cross, Cork.

Wicklow People

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