Bray Wanderers 4 (Pender 15, Noone 42, Lewis 77, Harding 89) Sligo Rovers 0
Premier Division, Carlisle Grounds, 17 Sep 2016
Another three points lifts Bray Wanderers into eighth place in the table. If Ger Pender’s opener on the quarter hour might have been marginally against the run of play at the time, when Darragh Noone doubled the home side’s advantage it was no more than the by then dominant Bray deserved.
Sligo once again seemed the stronger in the early part of the second half, but only managed a single shot on target.
When Drew Lewis took Pender’s place with a quarter of an hour left, he copper fastened the points with a well-taken strike.
And not to be outdone, fellow sub Sean Harding struck hard with only a minute of normal time remaining.
A tight opening dominated by defences meant there were few early chances, Jimmy Keohane coming near an opportunity but failing to control a return pass from Achille Campion 10 minutes in.
Before that, Mark Salmon almost ran into problems in possession, twisting and turning to try to find a target, but Noone took the ball off his feet and cleared.
The home side took full advantage of their first corner, Conor Kenna giving Karl Moore’s flag-kick a little boost to take it to the waiting Pender, whose smart reaction touch saw it fly past Mícheál Schlingermann.
And the cushion seemed to give the Seagulls lift, as they took the game and ran, leaving the very unimpressive Westerners increasingly frustrated, and earning cautions principally for their harassment of Dylan Connolly.
Nineteen minutes in, John Russell squandered a good free, going for the target and missing by a distance.
After Donelon was booked for unfairly impeding another Connolly run, Bray’s free bounced high off the wall, and Schlingermann barely succeeded in keeping it in play.
Just after the half hour, a Hugh Douglas foray after Campion had lost the ball resulted in a cross for Moore, who set up Salmon, but the Bray man sliced wide.
Jason Marks, too, had an effort too high before Bray conceded several left-side throws, Campion eventually firing a cross too far ahead of his colleagues, and out across the face of the target.
Their efforts gained deserved reward three minutes before the break, when Gavin Peers stood in Connolly’s path to give away a dangerous looking free, and when Moore’s set-piece ball fell at his feet, Noone – who had come close to the target only a minute earlier – had no difficulty in finding the net.
Sligo resumed after the break with some sense of purpose, but despite an early corner which was well cleared it seemed that their attacks were again running into a cliff when the Bray defence were called into action.
That said, the Seagulls generic synthroid side effects were finding themselves pinned in their own half for what seemed long stretches, and when they did break out, Rovers’ back five were containing them well, even if it sometimes required Schlingermann to race well outside his area to clear at the feet of the marauding Connolly.
Peter Cherrie made one good reaction save in this opening period, when Danny Kearns’s low cross from the right found Raff Cretaro whose strike was well saved.
The Bray netminder was otherwise largely untroubled, though a brace of Russell corners had to be dealt with.
Half-hearted penalty shouts from Sligo supporters followed a nicely timed tackle on Russell and the award of a goal-kick. But they had cause to thank the officials for the free out that saved them from an own goal, Moore’s free-kick netting off Michael Leahy.
Midway through, Marks delivered a fine through ball from the left, but no-one was there save the Sligo keeper.
Another flurry of attacking effort by the visitors resulted in a free and a couple of corners, Peers eventually heading wide.
And with their concentration on the threat posed by Connolly, it was probably inevitable that another card would be produced, and just unlucky for defender Regan Donelon that he was the player to take an early shower, unfairly stopping the Bray winger a second time.
Five minutes later, the Sligo skipper failed to deal adequately with Tim Clancy’s long ball over the top, and when it fell to Lewis, he lofted a simple ball into the net.
Liam Martin and Cretaro’s names joined the other victims of ill-judged tackles on Connolly in the Referee’s book before Bray ended the scoring with another goal from a set-piece conceded by Peers, Harding taking a touch on Moore’s corner before firing in off the left-hand post.
Bray came close twice more before the final whistle, but the game was over a good bit before then.
Bray Wanderers: 1 Peter Cherrie; 2 Hugh Douglas, 4 Conor Kenna (c), 21 Tim Clancy, 19 Kevin Lynch; 8 Mark Salmon; 11 Jason Marks, 22 Darragh Noone, 10 Karl Moore, 16 Dylan Connolly; 17 Gerard Pender
Subs: 5 Alan McNally, 15 Alan Kehoe (for Marks 79), 18 Andrew Lewis (for Pender 75), 20 Paul Finnegan, 24 Sean Harding (for Douglas 85), 27 Chris Lyons, 40 Lee Stacey (gk)
Sligo Rovers: 1 Mícheál Schlingermann; 2 Olutobi Adebayo-Rowling, 4 Michael Leahy, 44 Gavin Peers (c), 3 Regan Donelon (yc x2); 19 Daniel Kearns, 17 Jimmy Keohane, 18 John Russell (yc), 27 Liam Martin (yc); 10 Raffaele Cretaro (yc), 7 Achille Campion (yc)
Subs: 6 Patrick McCann, 9 Philip Roberts, 14 Gary Boylan (for Leahy 64), 16 Ciarán Nugent (gk), 24 Michael Place, 28 Mark Hannon
Referee: Ben Connolly
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