Wexford Youths 2 (P. Murphy 18, 94) Bray Wanderers 0
Premier Division, Ferrycarrig, Park, 01 Apr 2016
Wexford Youths, having suffered in their opening matches from a series of last-gasp winning goals by their opponents, dished out the same treatment to the Seagulls tonight.
Well, almost: they were already ahead, through a goal by Paul Murphy inside the opening twenty minutes, and managed to hold their lead right into time added, while Peter Cherrie made several decent saves to keep the damage to a minimum.
And though Alan McNally came close to levelling matters late in the first period, even the advantage – if any – of heavy rain and wind at the visitors’ backs failed to see them close the gap.
With time ticking away, Murphy managed to strike a second to rub salt in the wound for Bray, who slip back down to tenth from the heady heights of eighth, reached last week with victory over Sligo.
Following an inspection of the rain-sodden pitch referee Anthony Buttimer deemed it playable, but soggy or no, Bray started fast, and created good chances inside the opening minutes.
It began with a testing effort by Drew Lewis, Graham Doyle getting low to save, at the cost of a corner which Ryan Brennan delivered well, finding central defender McNally who powered a header that Doyle was at stretch to touch over.
Curtis Murphy found his target from the flag-kick on the other side, McNally again with a header at close range, Doyle reacting fast to tip over to the amazement of the Bray man.
But for all the Seagulls’ early dominance, the lead was won almost twenty minutes in by the hosts.
A long throw by Craig McCabe was only half cleared and arrived back at his feet allowing him to skip past a defender, the lying water aiding him by holding up the ball. He crossed for Murphy who headed, with the aid of a deflection off Bray skipper Conor Kenna, past Cherrie.
Danny Furlong almost doubled the Youths lead on the half hour, latching on to Gary Delaney’s flick from another McCabe throw, but Cherrie produced a fine save with his feet.
At the other end Brennan and McNally both forced Doyle into saves, Brennan’s back post header from Douglas’s cross failing to pass the minder, who also stopped McNally’s strike from the edge of the penalty area.
In first half stoppage time, Bray almost grabbed an equaliser when Curtis Murphy swung in a corner from the right for Douglas at the back post, but Danny Ledwith was on hand to clear off the line.
In the second period, the hosts, buoyed by their lead, played better ball without troubling Cherrie until past the hour, when a low drive by Aidan Friel brought him into action.
The Bray keeper was there again five minutes later to smother a shot from Paul Murphy after the Wexford striker turned McNally.
As the game wore on, the visitors turned up the pressure, but couldn’t find a way to test Doyle.
In fact, a quick counter-attack almost sealed the points, Friel feeding the ball through for Murphy who forced Cherrie into a smart save despite the attentions of McNally.
And it was Murphy again, deep in time added, who got into position to take advantage of a run by substitute Andy Mulligan run and sidefoot home from the winger’s squared cross.
Bray Wanderers: 1 Peter Cherrie; 2 Hugh Douglas, 4 Conor Kenna (c), 5 Alan McNally (yc), 3 Curtis Murphy; 7 Ryan Brennan, 21 Robert Creevy, 10 Karl Moore, 11 Jason Marks; 18 Andrew Lewis, 9 Dean Kelly
Subs: 15 Sean Noble, 16 Dylan Connolly (for C Murphy 60), 17 Gerard Pender (for Lewis 68), 20 Paul Finnegan (for Creevy 92), 23 Gareth McDonagh, 24 Sean Harding, 50 Aaron Shanahan (gk)
Wexford Youths: 1 Graham Doyle (c); 2 Craig McCabe, 4 Gary Delaney, 5 Lee Grace, 3 Ryan Delaney; 26 Stephen Last; 14 Aidan Friel, 23 Daniel Ledwith (yc), 11 Eric Molloy; 9 Daniel Furlong, 20 Paul Murphy
Subs: 6 Craig Wall (for Ledwith 86), 7 Andrew Mulligan (for Last 79), 12 Chris Kenny (for Furlong 73), 13 John Peare, 16 Conor O’Keeffe, 18 Conor English, 22 Matthew Connor (gk)
Referee: Anthony Buttimer
Compiled by Micheal O’hUanachain