Bray Wanderers 3 (Kelly 32, Lewis 48, Moore 57) Wexford Youths 0
Premier division, Carlisle Grounds, 02 Jul 2016
Bray’s first three-pointer in ten outings came against another potential struggler, Wexford Youths, who had beaten the Seagulls comprehensively earlier in the season.
In a first period during which neither keeper had a great deal to do, but both defences had, the home side had the better of the exchanges, but not by much.
Kelly’s strike came shortly after the half hour after a bit of toing and froing in the Wexford area following a Ryan Brennan corner.
But despite sustained pressure by the home side in the minutes following, and a strong Wexford response thereafter, that was all that separated the sides at the break.
Things changed shortly after the resumption, though, with Drew Lewis putting the Seagulls further ahead from a fine cross by Gareth McDonagh.
And just short of the hour mark, Karl Moore put the issue beyond doubt with a third.
The teams exchanged early corners, Chris Kenny ballooning over after Jonny Bonner’s flag-kick for the visitors, while Hugh Douglas provided a similar header after Moore’s set-piece at the other end.
Then Kelly timed a run for a long ball well, and controlled past the defence, but there was no-one there to receive a cross.
Ten minutes in, a Paul Murphy free from 22m brought Peter Cherrie down to smother, and soon thereafter Moore sent a 20m counterpart wide after Ryan Delaney was cautioned for a high tackle on Lewis.
Seán Harding sent a nice ball up and Lewis reached it to keep in play, but Kelly was flagged offside for the cut.
Gary Delaney did well to deprive Dylan Connolly of possession at the end of a signature run.
And as the twenty minute mark approached, Bonner went for goal with a free after being brought down by Ryan Brennan, but Cherrie was in the way.
Graham Doyle produced a top-drawer flying save to deny Kelly from another free, and Danny Furlong wasn’t too far off target from a narrow angle minutes later, with Eric Molloy following up during the Youths best spell so far with a curling cross that threatened to find the net until Cherrie intervened.
But after the Bray keeper had changed his footwear, Doyle managed to get a finger-tip to a Brennan effort that seemed to be fractionally wide, giving Moore another flag-kick, and though referee Graham Kelly seemed about to whistle free out he let the advantage proceed, and Kelly eventually produced a shot that flew behind Doyle off the post.
Wanderers then pressed hard for a second, but couldn’t deliver. Lewis seemed to have kept the ball in play at the end-line, but the flag went up for a goal-kick as it partially crossed the line.
Connolly seemed miffed that it took until he had been fouled four times before a free was awarded, but the one he won was too far from the target.
The second period was only three minutes old when McDonagh raced up the right and delivered a pinpoint cross past Doyle to where Lewis was unmarked at the far post, and the young strike made no mistake with the Youths custodian out of position.
At that point the visitors looked a little non-plussed, and it took until the tenth minute of the half before they produce a response, Gary Delaney bringing a beautiful diving save from Cherrie after Bonner had fired the ball into the danger zone.
Bray’s third was unexpected when it came, as it seemed that Doyle had managed to save Moore’s response with a swift reaction after Connolly fed him, the rebound sent into the side-netting, but assistant referee Trevor Cotter firmly signalled that the ball had crossed the line.
On the hour mark, the Wexford men had an opportunity to pull one back, Furlong with a free on the edge of the area where Douglas had brought him down, earning yellow for his pains. But Cherrie stopped well, and the partial clearance was fired over by Murphy.
Within minutes, Doyle was in action, pushing away a Kelly free, and a second was only partially cleared, Moore then pinging the ball off the crossbar.
Bray then produced another attack that should have ended in the net, McDonagh feeding Mark Salmon, who had a good night at the office, and passed in turn to Kelly, and on to Brennan whose shot was blocked, and Lewis’s effort with the rebound was straight at Doyle.
The game then went a little flat, with the visitors possibly feeling the decision was made, though ten minutes from time a long range effort by Gary Delaney saw Cherrie fall on it just in case, inches wide of his left hand post.
That may have given the visitors a glimpse of hope, for within a minute Molloy, too, had a long-range shot that flew straight to the Bray keeper, and then another speculative shot was deflected wide, but the corner came to nothing, and Connolly was away again up the wing. His shot, however, unluckily hit substitute Ger Pender and flew harmlessly out.
In the final minutes Conor O’Keeffe shot to Cherrie’s hands, and McDonagh had an effort just too high.
The Youths’ 90th minute double substitution came too late to have any real effect on the outcome.
Bray Wanderers: 1 Peter Cherrie; 23 Gareth McDonagh, 2 Hugh Douglas (yc), 4 Conor Kenna (c), 24 Seán Harding; 8 Mark Salmon, 10 Karl Moore, 7 Ryan Brennan, 16 Dylan Connolly; 18 Andrew Lewis, 9 Dean Kelly
Subs: 11 Jason Marks, 13 Daniel Blackbyrne, 15 Seán Noble (for Moore 86), 17 Gerard Pender (for Kelly 72), 22 Darragh Noone (for Salmon 82), 29 Sean Fogarty (gk), 30 Kieran Butler
Wexford Youths: 1 Graham Doyle (c); 16 Conor O’Keeffe, 4 Gary Delaney (yc), 3 Ryan Delaney (yc), 2 Craig McCabe; 11 Eric Molloy (yc), 17 Jonathan Bonner, 12 Christopher Kenny, 7 Andrew Mulligan; 20 Paul Murphy; 9 Daniel Furlong
Subs: 13 John Peare, 14 Aidan Friel (for Mulligan 90), 19 Conor Whittle, 21 Shane Dunne (for Kenny 54), 23 Daniel Ledwith (for Molloy 90), 22 Matthew Connor (gk), 26 Stephen Last
Referee: Graham Kelly
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