Bray Wanderers 3 Sligo Rovers 2
Super-sub Leon O’Sullivan came off the bench to help Bray secure all three U15 EA Sports National League of Ireland Phase 2 (Tier 2) points.
Having taken the lead after just 69 seconds through Max Colbert at Ballycorus on Sunday afternoon against Sligo, Wanderers were pegged back to 1-1 at the start of the second third.
O’Sullivan made it 2-1 in the 50th minute before notching a third just after the hour mark. Rovers grabbed a late 89th minute consolation.
In truth, the game – Bray’s first in the competition – should have been over after the first third of 30 minutes. But the Green And White’s failed to capitalise on a series of chances.
The Seagulls got off to a great start and went 1-0 up in the just the second minute.
Rhys Knight’s precise pass put Colbert through to evade the offside and roll to the net from 15-yards.
Bit O’Red custodian Luke Braam Farrell made fine saves to deny Darragh Emmett (9) and Jack Nolan (12). Then in the 17th minute, Emmett set Colbert free. His centre set-up Nolan who sliced wide when well placed.
Three minutes before half hour, Knight’s ball over the top released Colbert. His drive was superbly blocked by Braam Farrell with the ball rebounding just wide off an away defender.
Then in the 29th minute, Ciaran Leeson’s precise cross picked out the unmarked Knight who headed wide from six-yards out.
The Green and White’s were punished for those misses in the 34th minute. A corner wasn’t cleared. The ball pinged around the box before James Lavin slide it to the net through a crowded goalmouth.
However, Wanderers restored their lead in the 50th minute. O’Sullivan span away from his marker down the left channel and cut into the 18-yard area. His low placed effort evaded Braam Farrell’s fingertips and went in off the far post.
Then in the 52nd minute, fellow reserve Dylan Bourke saw his shot kept out by the netminder.
The Wicklow team registered a third in the 63rd minute. O’Sullivan’s drive was pushed out by sub keeper Paul McAteer.
However, the visitors gave away possession seconds later, O’Sullivan gathered, rounded McAteer and slotted past a covering defender on the line.
Knight’s free was clawed out by Sligo’s sub keeper on 80. Bray’s own reserve stopper Sam Baker saved well from Jayden Reynolds four minutes later.
Then in the 86th minute, McAteer pushed over the bar Knight’s close range effort.
Rovers ensured a nervous ending in the last minute of normal time.
Baker parried a free and from the scramble that followed, sub Darragh McKeon forced the ball over the line close in.
Bray Wanderers: Joe Collins; Ronan Dawson, Alain Kizenga, Ross Young; Aidan Kane, Eric Schütte; Jack Nolan, Rhys Knight, Ciaran Leeson; Max Colbert, Darragh Emmett.
Subs: Roddy Cotter, Leon O’Sullivan, Dylan Bourke, Ethan Cheese, Janek Sarwinski, Sam Baker.
* Bray remain at Ballycorus on Sunday July 10 next. They will entertain Waterford FC at 2.30pm.
Bray goalscorers Leon O’Sullivand Max Colbert.