Wednesday 21 February 2018

Shields goes from zero to hero as Bray survive

(Bray won 7-6 on penalties)

Bray Wanderers' Chris Shields gets the champagne flowing after scoring the winning penalty at the end of a dramatic play-off.
Bray Wanderers' Chris Shields gets the champagne flowing after scoring the winning penalty at the end of a dramatic play-off.

Ruaidhri O'Connor At the Carlisle Grounds

Rarely has someone gone from zero to hero with such velocity as Chris Shields did at the Carlisle Grounds last night.

Shields' own goal looked to have handed promotion to Monaghan United, but he then crossed for Jake Kelly's unlikely injury-time equaliser and took the winning penalty in sudden death.

Alan Byrne had a chance to win the shootout for the visitors after Gabriel Saba had saved Gary Shaw's penalty, but he hit the crossbar and Paul Whelan's effort also hit the bar, allowing Shields the ultimate redemption as Bray Wanderers stayed in the Premier Division after a dramatic night.

It took 209 minutes of football, but the Airtricity League promotion/ relegation play-off exploded into life late on as Shields put the ball into his own net, but in the ecstatic celebrations a wall collapsed and there was a lengthy delay.

That allowed Bray compose themselves, and Saba spilled Shields' ball at the feet of Jake Kelly, who gleefully pounced to send the game to penalties.

A downpour meant playing conditions were difficult and it was the hosts who went closest on two occasions before the break. Brian Gartland was lucky not score an own goal before Danny O'Connor took Shane O'Neill's pass and launched a dipping half volley that Sava did well to tip over the bar. Sava denied Shields after the break, while Byrne really should have done better at the other end when heading Sean Brennan's cross into the ground over.

Brian Kane brilliantly turned Shane Grimes' effort around the post, before Dean Zambra's low effort went wide. Shields fired wide from Doyle's cross, before Sava spilled Kelly's cross and Gartland cleared to safety as the match went to extra-time scoreless.

Bray looked the fresher side after the 90 minutes, but Sava was called on to brilliantly turn Kelly's effort over.

At the other end Dempsey escaped as his header just cleared the bar. From the corner, Barry Clancy hit the post and the ball fell to Don Tierney whose shot was going wide until it hit Shields and went in.

The visiting crowd went wild, but the drama was just beginning.

BRAY WANDERERS -- Kane; Doyle, Mitchell, S O'Connor, Massey; Kelly, Dempsey, D O'Connor, Shields, Zambra (Shaw 93); O'Neill.

MONAGHAN UNITED -- Sava; Whelan, McMahon (McCrossan 72), Gartland, Grimes; O'Connor (Hanaphy 86), Tierney, Byrne, Clancy; Brennan (Bermingham 75), Hughes.

REF -- D Hanney (Dublin).

Irish Independent

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