23.09.16 – Wexford Youths 1 – Bray Wanderers 2

Wexford Youths 1 (Dempsey 88) Bray Wanderers 2 (Salmon 20, Pender 60, Lynch 73)

Premier Division, Ferrycarrig Park, 23 Sep 2016

Bray Wanderers rise to seventh position in the Premier Division table with another win on their travels. Mark Salmon reacted well to the loose ball parried by Graham Doyle and put the Seagulls in the lead – slightly against the run of play.

But there was nothing unexpected about the second goal when it arrived on the hour mark courtesy of Ger Pender.

And Kevin Lynch wrapped the points up late on, though Shane Dempsey salvaged a last-gasp consolation score for the hosts.

The Wicklow club may not stay that high in the table for long, but they are now mathematically safe from the threat of relegation, even via a play-off.

The Youths started well, a hooked shot by Paul Murphy flying just wide of the target in the fourth minute, and new signing Lee Chin getting up well for long throws by Craig McCabe, the second of which led to a scramble that ended in the award of a corner minutes later.

On the quarter hour, their first real threat came from a long ball across the field from Andy Mulligan that just missed being perfectly placed for Murphy. In the end, he miscontrolled and Connor Kenna headed away a hasty shot.

And five minutes later, Bray turned the game on its head when Alan McNally ran out of midfield before feeding Jason Marks witha ball that fell behind Chin, whose position was ill-judged. Marks took a shot that Graham Doyle could only parry, and Salmon was well-placed to take advantage and fire to the net.

Influential Wexford winger Mulligan needed treatment midway through the half, and had to be replaced at the break.

With little more than five minutes to go until half time, Chin earned a caution with his challenge on Pender, and the resulting free by Karl Moore was well-placed for a trademark Hugh Douglas header, but this one was a trifle too high.

As has been something of a pattern recently, the Seagulls’ opponents came out playing strongly at the restart but though Aidan ‘Rocks’ Keenan had the ball in the net five minutes in, the score was disallowed.

And to add to the hosts’ woes, Andrew O’Connor hit a weak backpass on the hour that Pender was alert to, and racing in he rounded Doyle to give himself an open goal to aim at, if from a very tight angle.

The Bray man had an opportunity to double his tally five minutes later, but fired wide of the target.

But seven minutes after that, Lynch made himself a space after picking up possession on the edge of the Wexford area and beat Doyle with a low shot.

It may have been all over, but the Youths kept pressing, and Chin might have reduced the deficit with a diving header from Jonny Bonner’s 84th minute free, but Peter Cherrie made his only real save of the night to tip it round his post.

It fell to Dempsey to take the bare look off the score with his volley from a partially cleared O’Connor corner three minutes from time.

Bray Wanderers: 1 Peter Cherrie; 2 Hugh Douglas, 21 Tim Clancy, 4 Conor Kenna (c), 19 Kevin Lynch; 5 Alan McNally; 10 Karl Moore, 8 Mark Salmon, 11 Jason Marks, 15 Alan Kehoe; 17 Gerard Pender
Subs: 9 Dean Kelly, 13 Daniel Blackbyrne, 18 Andrew Lewis (for Pender 68), 23 Gareth McDonagh, 24 Seán Harding (for Marks 79), 27 Chris Lyons (for Clancy 76), 40 Lee Stacey (gk)
Wexford Youths: 1 Graham Doyle (c); 2 Craig McCabe, 5 Lee Grace, 6 Lee Chin (yc), 24 Andrew O’Connor (yc); 11 Eric Molloy, 25 Shane Dempsey, 17 Jonathan Bonner, 7 Andrew Mulligan; 10 Aidan Keenan, 20 Paul Murphy (yc)
Subs: 8 Peter Higgins, 9 Daniel Furlong, 12 Christopher Kenny, 14 Aidan Friel, 21 Shane Dunne (for Mulligan H/T), 28 Eoin Porter, 30 Corey Chambers (gk)
Referee: James McKell

Compiled by Mícheál Ó hUanacháin