Finn Harps 1 (Scully 7), Bray Wanderers 0
Premier Division, Finn Park, 15 Apr 2016
With former Bray players throughout the League at present, it was little surprise to find one of them ready to sink the Seagulls’ hopes of a revival of fortune as they were beaten in Donegal by newly-promoted Finn Harps.
The first period produced almost everything a manager doesn’t need – an early goal against his team, and an injury forcing a withdrawal of one of his starting lineup.
And of course it was two of the former Seagulls, Sean Heuston and Dave Scully, who combined via Ryan Curran to breach the visitors’ defence inside ten minutes.
And naturally it was a defender, Paul Finnegan, who succumbed to injury with ten minutes of the opening half still to play.
And it can’t have made pleasant viewing for Mick Cooke to see his replacement, Alan Byrne, needing assistance leaving the pitch for the break, and consequently throwing any replacement strategy in tatters for the remainder of the match.
Dave Scully’s strike, which turned out to be the only goal of the match, came a little against the run of play, as Bray had opened strongly, Robbie Creevy going close with a header from a Hugh Douglas cross as early as five minutes in.
But after the set-back, with the hosts in overdrive, goalkeeper Peter Cherrie made a stunning fingertip save from a smashing 22m drive from Adam Hanlon just before the quarter-hour.
Thereafter, however, though Bray saw plenty of the ball they failed to test Richard Brush in the Harps goal, with the keeper called on to make only a few routine saves.
And from almost the only significant Harps break of the second period, Hanlon’s cross was headed wide by Tony McNamee on the stretch with Cherrie unable to cover.
At the other end, there was a half-chance for Bray as Drew Lewis found a hint of space about 18m from goal but his attempted lob didn’t look convincing, and fell wide.
Karl Moore and Lewis both found themselves in promising positions in the Harps area late on but their accuracy deserted them when it was most in demand.
Bray Wanderers: 1 Peter Cherrie; 2 Hugh Douglas, 20 Paul Finnegan, 4 Conor Kenna (c), 24 Sean Harding (yc); 16 Dylan Connolly, 21 Robert Creevy, 7 Ryan Brennan, 10 Karl Moore; 18 Andrew Lewis (yc), 17 Gerard Pender
Subs: 3 Curtis Murphy, 6 Alan Byrne (for Finnegan 35 inj), 11 Jason Marks (for Byrne H/T inj, yc), 13 Daniel Blackbyrne, 15 Sean Noble, 23 Gareth McDonagh (for Connolly 77), 50 Aaron Shanahan (gk)
Finn Harps: 73 Richard Brush; 2 Damien McNulty (yc), 4 Keith Cowan, 5 Patrick Mailey, 3 Ciaran Coll (c); 18 Adam Hanlon, 16 Sean Houston, 6 Gareth Harkin, 20 David Scully; 11 Tony McNamee, 9 Ryan Curran
Subs: 1 Ciaran Gallagher (gk), 7 Michael Funston (for Scully 80), 8 Raymond Foy (for Hanlon 67), 10 Kevin McHugh, 12 Matthew Crossan (for Harkin 86), 15 Ryan McConnell, 24 Liam Flatley
Referee: Ray Matthews
Compiled by Micheal O’hUanachain