UCD 0 Bray Wanderers 2 (Salmon 46+, Lewis 54)
League Cup, Belfield Bowl, 22 Mar 2016
Bray put a little shine on their dull season so far with a well-deserved victory over UCD in Belfield tonight.
Although the stadium announcer credited Ryan Brennan with both goals, it was in fact Mark Salmon who found the net in the minute of time added at the end of the first half, and Drew Lewis doubled the Seagulls’ advantage less than ten minutes playing time later.
An early corner for the visitors suggested they were in attacking mode, and despite former Seagull Ryan Swan shooting over from distance inside ten minutes, it was Bray who kept making the running for the opening period.
But Referee Michael O’Connor was keen to assert his authority early, and following a caution for Jason Marks, he also had a word with Lewis following a tackle on key College defender Maxi Kouogun.
Just inside the quarter hour, Hugh Douglas, who had a storming game throughout, gifted the home side a corner, but they made little use of it.
But Bray themselves gained little value from set-pieces.
Moments later, Aaron Shanahan got down smartly to smother the danger from a UCD attack, Kieran “Marty” Waters’ shot initially blocked by Marks and the loose ball tidied up by the Bray keeper.
Bray tried a short corner from their next flag-kick, won at the end of a strong Lewis run up the right, but that didn’t bring them any joy either.
The officials seemed at times to be raising flags a little before any involvement by offside players in the game.
Brennan managed to pass the wall from a 30m free on the right, but he didn’t find the righthand post either.
It was almost half an hour in before the home side contrived another shot, skipper Gary O’Neill on the end of an effort just past the goalmouth following an extended passage of passing play between the sides.
And Dylan Connolly could only fire at Conor O’Donnell at the end of a good run up the left. The UCD keeper could only parry the shot, but Kouogun managed to clear.
With barely ten minutes to the break, a Ger Pender attack ended in a tangle with O’Donnell and Kouogun, and following a UCD free in midfield a spell of head-tennis ended with a Swan header just right of the target.
Another good run, this time by Connolly beating Sean Coyne, was unsuccessful in the end, and in time added it took a slip by Kouogun in attempting to reach Marks’s centre to give Salmon the opportunity to fire home from close range.
Dylan Watts had the first shot in anger after the break, Shanahan down to stop it, and the home side were unlucky to have a corner denied them minutes into the period.
Marks fired a wayward shot well off target after Connolly managed to keep a long ball in play and his cross was partially cleared.
But a minute later after the otherwise reliable Kouogun slipped, Lewis was able to nip behind everyone and roll the ball into the empty net.
Around the hour mark, Bray players were trying potshots against the College goal, Pender, Marks and Lewis in turn unsuccessful in various ways. Lewis, who was covering a lot of ground, found himself chasing long balls that were clearly lost, in case of another error.
By and large, the rest of the game was Bray’s to lose, and they made enough ground to ensure that did not happene.
Midway through the half, when Douglas won another corner, Connolly went high in competition with O’Donnell, the ball fell loose and Lewis lofted too high.
With less than twenty minutes left, Swan got to the endline for UCD and fired a curling cross that Shanahan had to tip past, Waters getting a stray touch on it past the far post but to no avail.
With time ticking away, the game went somewhat flat for a while, and only a slight revival saw the home side come into contention in the final minutes.
Having won a corner, substitute Robert Manley could only lift the loose ball over the bar, and in time added at the end Bray saw their attempts to take a free quickly twice defeated by the Referee’s whistle.
Mick Cooke had started several players who have been making bench appearances so far, and some looked useful – Hugh Douglas is still indefatigable and Drew Lewis looked like the sort of player who can keep pressure going indefinitely.
Bray Wanderers: 50 Aaron Shanahan; 2 Hugh Douglas, 20 Paul Finnegan (yc), 4 Conor Kenna (c), 11 Jason Marks (yc); 16 Dylan Connolly, 8 Mark Salmon, 7 Ryan Brennan, 10 Karl Moore; 17 Gerard Pender, 18 Andrew Lewis
Subs: 1 Peter Cherrie (gk), 3 Curtis Murphy (for Marks 73), 5 Alan McNally, 6 Alan Byrne, 9 Dean Kelly (for Pender 76, yc), 15 Sean Noble (for Connolly 84)
UCD: 1 Conor O’Donnell; 2 Mark Langtry, 5 Maxi Kouogun, 12 Adam Harney, 3 Sean Coyne; 7 Daire O’Connor, 6 Dylan Watts, 8 Gary O’Neill (c), 11 Kieran Waters; 9 Ryan Swan, 10 Jason McClelland
Subs: 13 Dan Tobin (for Langtry H/T), 14 Sean Byrne, 15 Josh Collins, 16 Karl Skinner (gk), 17 Robert Manley (for Waters 81), 18 Georgie Kelly (for O’Connor 73)
Referee: Michael Connolly
Report by Micheal O’hUanachain