Bray Wanderers 1 Waterford FC 4
It has undoubtedly been a rough season for Bray fans, and Friday night was no exception to the rule.
With the exception of two wins in one week back in March, the Seagulls have struggled to get any semblance of SSE Airtricity League First Division form going.
Coming into Friday night there was scant optimism around the club that the Wanderers could pick up a much-needed three points at the Carlisle Grounds after a tumultuous week at the club.
The opening passage of the game was sloppy with multiple foul throws, but the referee appeared content to only call the one back.
It was fittingly from a suspicious throw-in that the Blues took an early lead on 23 minutes. Tunmise Sobowale’s “throw” found Killian Cantwell who launched a cross-field ball to Phoenix Patterson, via a Louis Britton knock down. Patterson cut inside and found the top corner with a brilliant right-footed strike from just inside the box.
The visitors would have doubled their advantage after 29 minutes if not for Stephen McGuinness who made a great save to deny Eddie Nolan. The half played out in a familiar pattern with Bray looking to build up attacking momentum but struggling to find the creative spark necessary to breach the Suirsiders defense.
Following another familiar pattern, the Wicklow men came out strongly to start the second half although unfortunately the push was short lived.
On 52 minutes McGuinness once again proved his worth with a point blank save from Britton after the attacker broke through on goal.
The relief was short-lived as just a minute later Waterford had once again got behind the Bray defense. This time there was nothing McGuinness could do to deny Shane Griffin who did well to cut inside past the stranded Seagull defenders.
With a two-goal lead to defend, the Blues were content to sit back until Bray were given another brief glimmer of hope five minutes from time when an excellent Eoin McPhillips free kick found a towering Kevin Knight in the box who hammered home an 87th header.
Hopes of late dramatics were dashed as the homeside pushed for an equaliser. After Darragh Lynch charged on goal but couldn’t convert, Waterford went on the counter.
Having been denied earlier in the half, Britton made no mistake with his next opportunity as he beat McGuinness from inside the box to put the game to bed.
Just to prove the first goal was no fluke, Britton made sure to add a fourth in the same manner as the third to close out the match.
Bray are left to reflect once again as they must try to put this winless run behind them with a trip to Treaty next Friday night.
Bray Wanderers: Stephen McGuinness; Conor McManus, Kevin Knight, Jack Hudson, Daniel Blackbyrne (Kurtis Byrne half time); Dean Zambra (c), Callum Thompson (Rob Manley 65), Karl Manahan (Conor Knight 85), Ben Feeney, Keith Dalton (Eoin McPhillips 65); Marty Waters (Darragh Lynch 85).
Subs not used: Michael Kelly, Enda Douglas, Eoin Massey, Darragh Levingston.
Booked: Karl Manahan (43), Kevin Knight (87)
Waterford: Brian Murphy; Tunmise Sobowale (Callum Stringer 89), Eddie Nolan (c), Jeremie Milambo (Darragh Power 58), Killian Cantwell; Phoenix Patterson (Nigel Aris 89), Niall O’Keeffe, Roland Idowu (Liam Kervick 83), Shane Griffin, Yassine En-Neyah; Louis Britton.
Subs not used: Paul Martin, Kevin Joshua, George Forrest, Dean Larkin , Owen Oseni.
Booked: Jeremie Milambo (13), Brian Murphy (87)
Referee: David Keeler
MintPlus.ie Man of the Match: Conor McManus
Report: Kevin Dooney.
Pictures: Peter Minogue.