McCabe stars as Bray outlast Finn Harps in eight goal thriller
Gary McCabe scored twice and provided two assists as Bray made it two wins from two after this madcap game at the Carlisle Grounds.
Harps had a penalty appeal ignored by referee Anthony Buttimer before his award of a free kick for a dubious foul at the other end led to Bray’s opening goal on nine minutes; Anto Flood shooting home after Harps failed to clear McCabe’s delivery.
Buttimer then incensed Harps further when awarding Bray a penalty on 20 minutes after Michael Funston appeared to handle the ball outside the area. McCabe confidently sent keeper Ciaran Gallagher the wrong way from the spot.
Harps hit back on 32 minutes. Jonny Bonner's free kick from a tight angle came back off the far post with Ciaran O’Connor stabbing the ball to the net.
Minutes before halt-time Bray regained their two goal lead thanks to Aaron Greene powering home a header from skipper Conor Kenna’s cross.
O’Connor pulled a second goal back for Harps on 47 minutes with his shot having too much power for keeper Peter Cherrie who pushed it into the air and into the net.
Despite Harps’ pressure, McCabe added his second goal for Bray on 58 minutes.
Gallagher raced outside his area to clear Keith Buckley’s through ball with a diving header. But the ball ran to McCabe who shot to the empty net as Gallagher lay injured.
Bray got a fifth goal on 69 minutes. Replacement keeper Harry Doherty twice parried from Connolly after he’d raced through from McCabe’s pass before Connolly shot home the loose ball.
Ethan Boyle’s header from substitute Paddy McCourt’s 74th minute corner gave the visitors the final say with their thrid goal.
Bray Wanderers: Cherrie; Douglas, Kenna, Clancy, Lynch; Sullivan, Buckley (Salmon, 67); Greene, McCabe (Moore, 90+1), Connolly; Flood.
Finn Harps: Gallagher (Doherty, 61); Boyle, McNulty, Cantwell, Coll; Molloy (Harkin, 73); Funston (McCourt, 62), Bonner, Houston, McAleer; O’Connor.
Referee: Anthony Buttimer (Cork).