19.04.16 – Bray Wanderers 4 – Bluebell United 2

Bray Wanderers 4 (Brennan 25p, Pender 33, Lewis 100, Connolly 115p) Bluebell United 2 (Byrne 39, 69).

After extra time.

EA Sports League Cup, Carlisle Grounds, 19 Apr 2016

Wanderers go in the hat for the Quarter-Final draw in this competition, overcoming Bluebell United the hard way.

Early pressure from the LSL side came to nothing as Bray got into their stride after a slow build-up.

But the lively play of Robert Bayly, Ajibjula Sule and ex-Seagull Ger Rowe was cause for concern among the Bray faithful.

Karl Moore and Ryan Brennan were working well in midfield but the final ball wasn’t quite managing to create the required penetration.

Ten minutes in, nice movement from Drew Lewis created a half-chance, his backheel for Ger Pender allowing the latter to find the inrushing Moore in the area, but Blubell’s Sean Gleeson cleared.

Bray were starting to impose themselves, with Alan McNally’s service down the right finding Dylan Connolly, but Connolly’s feed didn’t reach the advancing Pender.

A Curtis Murphy long-range effort left Andy McNulty’s crossbar below approaching the twenty minute mark.

Midway through the period, however, Referee Michael O’Connor and his assistant spotted an infringement in the area and awarded a penalty against the visitors. Ryan Brennan stepped up and sent the ball to McNulty’s right.

Bray looked more comfortable after taking the lead, but it was a slender one, and Blubell had it all to play for.

Things looked even better for the home side after Pender doubled their lead with only minutes to go to the break – but there were enough minutes for Sean Byrne to cut the visitors’ deficit before they left for the dressing rooms.

Peter Cherrie had made a superb double save, but at the third time of asking the Bluebell man made no mistake in finding the back of his net.

The game was fairly evenly poised on the resumption and again Bluebell opened well, Sule winning a free kick but it was over-hit and flew out of play without troubling the Bray defence.

Ten minutes in, great play from Byrne down the right found Sule again, and he laid off for Keith Quinn whose shot flew over the bar.

And it took until half-way through the second half before Byrne contrived to double his and his team’s score.

Thereafter, however, they weathered the Bray storm, taking the tie to Extra Time.

Minutes into the fresh period, a Moore free kick was well over the target, but minutes after that Lewis managed to curl a superb shot into the top corner of McNulty’s net.

Chances were few and far between after that, Byrne pumping a second period free into the area where it was cleared only as far as Quinn, but his through ball found no one in the Bray area.

Things boiled over five minutes from the end of the additional period, and between the loss of Dean Lawrence for his silly push on the official and the penalty which Dylan Connolly converted, the non-League side were condemned to failure.

In the dying seconds, substitute Gareth McDonagh almost made it five for the Seagulls, but his shot went past the post.

Bray Wanderers: 1 Peter Cherrie; 2 Hugh Douglas, 5 Alan McNally, 4 Conor Kenna (c), 3 Curtis Murphy; 7 Ryan Brennan; 10 Karl Moore, 21 Robbie Creevy, 16 Dylan Connolly; 18 Andrew Lewis, 17 Gerard Pender
Subs: 11 Jason Marks (for Murphy 75), 15 Sean Noble, 22 Darragh Noone (for Creevy 86), 23 Gareth McDonagh (for Pender 107), 24 Sean Harding, 26 Shane Barnes, 50 Aaron Shanahan (gk)
Bluebell United: 1 Andrew McNulty; 3 Karl Russell, 5 Gilmar Mandiangu, 4 Dean Lawrence; 2 Sean Gleeson; 6 Keith Quinn, 7 Sean Byrne, 8 Robert Bayly; 10 Gerard Rowe (yc), 9 Tony Griffith, 11 Ajibjula Sule
Subs: 12 Graham Zambra, 13 Barry Slattery, 14 Peter Sherlock (for Bayly 76), 15 Glenn Leddy, 16 Peter Darcy, 17 Tony Keeler, 18 Toyeeb Mustapha (for Sule 111)
Referee: Michael Connolly

Compiled by Micheal O’hUanachain