Saturday 24 February 2018

Late Miele strike gets Rovers back into winning groove

Shamrock Rovers 1 Bray Wanderers 0

Brandon Miele scores the only goal of the night from a freekick at Tallaght
Brandon Miele scores the only goal of the night from a freekick at Tallaght
Shamrock Rovers' Brandon Miele, second from left, celebrates with teammates after scoring a late winner
Rovers' Michael Drennan tries to take the ball under control as he's closed down by Bray's Michael Barker
Simon Madden is stopped in his tracks by Bray's Adam Hanlon
Shamrock's Simon Madden looks for a way past Adam Hanlon

Paul Buttner

A thumping late free-kick from Brandon Miele brought Shamrock Rovers a laboured first win in five games.

Defeat was harsh on Bray who frustrated Rovers for most of the game at Tallaght Stadium until the redeeming moment of a dour encounter arrived on 88 minutes.

Miele, upended on the edge of the area by Bray defender Niall Cooney, stepped up to blast the resulting direct free-kick through the wall to the net.

The win moves Rovers five points ahead of St Patrick's Athletic in the race for third place and a guaranteed Europa League spot.

A poor crowd made for a muted atmosphere as Rovers struggled to impose themselves on a well-organised Bray side.

It took a sluggish Rovers 23 minutes to show any real menace with Bray left-back Michael Barker snuffing out the threat of Mikey Drennan as he tried to latch onto Damien Duff's through ball.

Rovers' first real shot in anger arrived a minute later when Miele (right) was off target from distance.

Indeed, Bray had the only shot on target during a decidedly dour first half.

John Sullivan fed Chris Lyons in the inside right channel with the little striker dipping around Max Blanchard to bring a tip-over save from Barry Murphy with a crisp right-footed drive.

With Bray continuing to look the more dangerous side, Blanchard got tighter to deflect a shot from Graham Kelly out for a corner on 34 minutes.

Hugh Douglas got his head to Ryan McEvoy's delivery to glance his effort well wide.

Thankfully, there was a trifle more impetus to the game on the resumption.

Rovers 'keeper Murphy made a comfortable save from Hanlon's weak shot before Drennan ran through to bring a more telling stop from Peter Cherrie at the other end on 52 minutes.

Cherrie was worked again just past the hour mark to get a vital touch to tip the ball over the top after Gavin Brennan cut in on the right to work the Bray 'keeper with a stinging left-foot effort.

Bray remained well in the game, though, and carved perhaps their best opening on 70 minutes.

Cassidy found himself in space on the right to put over a low cross to the near post which McEvoy, at a stretch, toed narrowly wide.

Shamrock Rovers - Murphy; Madden, Kenna, Blanchard, D O'Connor; G Brennan, McCabe (R Brennan 90), McPhail (Cregg 72), Miele; Duff (North 67); Drennan.

Bray Wanderers - Cherrie; Douglas, Cooney, McNally Barker; Cassidy, Kelly, Sullivan, McEvoy, Hanlon (Wixted, 83); Lyons (Scully, 80).

Ref - Paul Tuite (Dublin)

Irish Independent

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