Monday 19 February 2018


Bray waste late opportunities to grab a draw

Bray Wanderers penned a new chapter in their tale of woe on Friday evening as they wasted their opportunity to snatch a point from St. Patrick's Athletic.

The Seagulls had previously collected four points from their two games at the Carlisle Grounds but Chris Forrester's 25th minute lob saw Pat Devlin's youngster fall to a first defeat on home territory.

Ismahil Akinade had two glorious chances to save a point for Bray in the second half but on both occasions his finishing abandoned him.

The saving grace for Akinade and co. is that basement club UCD also suffered defeat, despite having taken the lead at Turner's Cross.

So in the grand scale of things Friday's result will have little effect. Two players that usually have an effect on Devlin's side are the O'Connor brothers; Danny and Kevin. Both missed out against the Saints through injury as Devlin made three changes after the disappointment of the 2-0 loss against Derry City. Goalkeeper Darren Quigley returned from suspension and slotted back in between the sticks. Webster was recalled to the starting XI and became the only member of the back four above the age of 21. Daire Doyle was the other man to drop out. Patsy Malone was handed his debut in Doyle's place.

Last week's 2-2 draw against UCD saw Bray got off to the perfect start, taking the lead inside four minutes. On Friday it was 20 minutes before either goalkeeper was even called into action and Darren Quigley was that shot-stopper.

Gary Dempsey gave away a free kick 30 yards from goal. Despite it being on the left-hand side, left-footer Killian Brennan hammered the set piece goalwards and Quigley had to perform a flying punch to avert the danger.

A deflected Ger O'Brien shot on 21 minutes could have gone anywhere but thankfully for Quigley it finished over his crossbar. The former UCD and Derry City custodian was beaten four minutes later though.

Lumbering centre half Kenny Browne picked out Forrester with a shockingly good pass and Forrester quickly cut inside before coolly lifting the ball over the advancing Quigley.

As half time approached, Liam Buckley's side went close to doubling their lead twice in as many minutes. Conan Byrne's free kick was inches from being tapped home by Anto Flood at the back post and then moments later Kenny Browne's attempted diving header saw him come agonisingly close to converting Brennan's free kick delivery.

Home debutant Peter Thomas almost emulated Browne when he fizzed a 53 rd minute pass forward to release Mulroy but the midfielder was forced wide and in the end his shot with his weaker foot caused Brendan Clarke no fuss.

Having come close to getting back on level terms, Bray came within millimetres of falling further behind two minutes later. Forrester slipped Ian Bermingham in down the left and he found Flood in the middle. Flood's shot wasn't his purest strike ever but it hit the legs of a Bray defender – completely wrong-footing Quigley – before rolling onto the foot of the post and into Quigley's arms.

Devlin decided the time for action was now and he threw on Daire Doyle, Ismahil Akinade and Shane O'Neill in place of Eoin Hyland, Patsy Malone and Dempsey respectively as Bray went three at the back.

Within six minutes, Devlin's bravery was almost rewarded. A Waters pass completely split the visiting defence and Akinade was charging clean through on goal. His touch was perfect but his finish was not and he hit it straight at the legs of Clarke.

Akinade had another chance almost instantly when it was worked to him inside the area but this time the Nigerian-born striker dragged his shot wide of the far post.

Akinade again raised the home supporters off their seats in the 90 th minute when his arcing run saw him enter the penalty area and his daisy-cutter towards the near post was almost allowed to slip through his fingers by Clarke but the custodian hung on and St. Patrick's hung on for the three points.

Top Form: Peter Thomas (Bray Wanderers): Seems very similar to a certain Pierce Sweeney.

Wicklow People

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