Bray Wanderers 2 (Connolly 59, McDonagh 106), St. Patricks Athletic 3 (B. Dennehy 53, McGrath 96, Timlin 110). After extra time
EA Sports League Cup, Carlisle Grounds, 02 May 2016
It took Extra Time again to separate the teams in the League Cup, but this time the added period didn’t go the Seagulls’ way.
They ended level on a goal apiece at the end of ninety minutes, Dylan Connolly just inside the hour cancelling Billy Dennehy’s opener for the Saints six minutes earlier.
And when Gareth McDonagh levelled again in the opening minute of the second half of the additional period, it began to look as if the dreaded penalties might be about to come into play.
But a wonder-lob by Mark Timlin deceived the Bray defence and the keeper and swept into the net via the far post to give the visitors a lead they held until the final whistle.
The opening five minutes or so saw St Patricks start fast in an attempt to avenge their two previous defeats by the seaside. Ger O’Brien pumped a long ball in the general direction of Timlin, but Bray skipper Conor Kenna got there first. And midfielder Karl Moore turned defender to put in a well-timed tackle on Lee Desmond who was chasing a through ball by Billy Dennehy.
Hugh Douglas was in his usual marauding role, and brought Brendan Clarke into action with a threatening cross, and the Pats keeper had to race to clear when Sean Hoare and Connolly were chasing to reach Sean Harding’s long ball.
Bray players were adamant a push had stopped Douglas reaching Harding’s 11th minute free, but Referee Ben Connolly was unimpressed.
Pats’ balls into the area were finding few attackers as the hail bombarded both sides, thwarting their efforts to play nice ball.
Another Bray corner taken by Moore failed to find either McNally or Douglas, both ready, and on the counter Timlin raced to feed Billy Dennehy but fired too far forward.
Play fell dull through the weather with the defence on both sides under little pressure, though midway through the half Creevy failed to contact a Bray free, and Moore tried to rescue the attack with an acrobatic effort, but he also missed.
Shortly after the half hour, a great block by Hoare prevented a Connolly cross which might have opened up the defence.
Nine minutes before the break, a Lee Desmond cross looked too long, but Dave Cawley charged and managed to recover as far as Darren Dennehy, but Kenna cleared the header off the line.
Minutes later, Bray end the half with a couple of serious chances, Robbie Creevy finding Connolly with a cross, but the header lacked power and direction, and then from a free breaking forward with Ger Pender feeding Moore who cut inside in the Pats area and clipped a cross for Drew Lewis, but his header found the foot of the alert Clarke, and the home side’s best effort so far was cleared.
Pats opened the second period in lively mode with Billy Dennehy filling his winger role with a lay-off to Dinny Corcoran, but Dennehy’s cross was cleared for a corner by Kenna.
And former Seagull Graham Kelly on the other side came to nothing when Corcoran couldn’t reach the cross.
Lewis almost got through but for Darren Dennehy’s neat tackle, although the ball then found Connolly who crossed to the far post, and Moore’s header was batted about by the swirling wind and Clarke needed a guess to place his hands right.
It was Kelly who made the running a couple of minutes later when he was given time and space to find Timlin on the right to slide the ball in for Billy Dennehy. Harding blocked the Pats winger’s curling shot, but it fell back to him and he smashed home point-blank.
With Pats now in the driving seat, a second goal probably should have been their priority, but they were slow on the uptake when Lewis laid off for Pender who did really well to slip the ball behind the central defenders to the feet of Connolly. He made it into the area, cut inside to take a defender out of the equation and curled it over Clarke into the far side netting.
Five minutes later, Pender tried an audacious lob from outside the area that forced Clarke to scramble back to tip over at full stretch.
Pats’ next opportunity came almost accidentally, when Corcoran played in Billy Dennehy who took too long to make up his
mind and lost possession. Kelly played it back to him and a coincidental one-two with Desmond saw him on goal but at a difficult angle, and Cherrie saved.
With just over ten minutes left, a looping cross from Desmond was cleared away by Harding but only as far as Timlin, whose half-volley was deflected into the side netting with Pats fans thinking it was in.
Then neat play saw Corcoran lay off for Kelly but Kenna headed his long range drive over the bar. From the corner, Pats sub Jamie McGrath hit the crossbar before Bray substitute Darragh Noone cleared off the line.
Chances at both ends followed, Billy Dennehy taking a free from just outside the area which Cherrie has to dive low to save. And Connolly was then put through up the other end but under pressure from Darren Dennehy and Clarke, he shot wide.
But with no further scoring, Extra Time opened with a strong chance for Pats as Billy Dennehy cut inside from the right wing and curl the ball towards the far post. Treacy and Timlin are both there and the latter heads past Cherrie – but also past the far post, where McGrath can only find the side netting.
Six minutes in, however, McGrath made no mistake for the visitors, rising to head home after Kelly got the ball in midfield and spread to O’Brien. The fullback took a touch before crossing to the spot where McGrath was waiting.
The pressure was now on the home side, Pender holding well before turning and shooting just over the bar, and a minute later twisting and turning past defenders before curling in, but Clarke got his hands on it.
One more threat, when Connolly broke down the right to find sub Gareth McDonagh at the far post with a cross, but Clarke leaped and took possession.
Keith Treacy’s loose ball broke up a good Pats move just before the break, with Billy Dennehy just about to get behind the defence.
But it was the home side that took the bit between their collective teeth on the resumption, Connolly breaking down the left before passing back to Noone. A one-two inside the area, then Noone rushed in and slid the ball across the face of the goal. Moore was unable to reach, but so were the defence and McDonagh tapped home at the far post.
Four minutes later it might have been Bray ahead, as Moore’s intervention prevented a Pats counter-attack, and instead took play back to the visitors’ area. Clarke went to claim, but Pender got control. He slipped but touched the ball past Clarke, but it was Hoare who got to it in time to clear.
The next score appeared to take everyone by surprise. Timlin got possession on the left, but there was nothing in it when he cut inside, so he just lifted the ball forward and it took time to see where it was headed as Cherrie started scrambling back, but it was too late as it hit the far post and went in.
Within a minute, Bray sub Jason Marks got the ball in the area and cut in, but sent his shot wide.
End to end, Pats looking for the clincher, Bray for an equaliser, Clarke and Cherrie both in action, and Creevy missing the target before McGrath shot straight at the Bray keeper.
And the home side ended with long frees from Marks and Cherrie that failed to break through.
Bray Wanderers: 1 Peter Cherrie; 2 Hugh Douglas (yc), 5 Alan McNally, 4 Conor Kenna (c), 24 Sean Harding; 10 Karl Moore, 21 Robert Creevy, 8 Mark Salmon, 16 Dylan Connolly; 17 Gerard Pender (yc), 18 Andrew Lewis
Subs: 3 Curtis Murphy, 11 Jason Marks (for Harding FT), 12 Conor Earley, 15 Sean Noble, 22 Darragh Noone (for Salmon 74), 23 Gareth McDonagh (for Lewis 58), 50 Aaron Shanahan (gk)
St Patricks Athletic: 1 Brendan Clarke; 2 Ger O’Brien (c, yc), 5 Sean Hoare, 4 Darren Dennehy, 12 Lee Desmond; 6 David Cawley, 14 Graham Kelly; 11 Mark Timlin; 7 Conan Byrne, 10 Daniel Corcoran, 20 Billy Dennehy
Subs: 8 Keith Treacy (for Corcoran 86), 15 Shane McEleney, 18 Sam Verdon, 19 Jamie McGrath (for Byrne 72), 22 Michael Barker, 25 Patrick Jennings (gk), 30 Rory Feely
Referee: Ben Connolly
Compiled by Micheal O’hUanachain