Bray Wanderers 1 Cork City 3
Defensive mistakes cost Bray as SSE Airtricity League First Division leaders Cork left the seaside will all three points for the second time this season.
With the Rebels leading 2-0 at the interval after a tight opening period when Wanderers matched their opponents on Friday at the Carlisle Grounds, the home team pulled one back through Darragh Lynch’s sixth goal of the 2022 campaign.
But a third score soon after by the visitors put a halt to any hope of a comeback.
With both sides having played last Monday, the visitors retained the same starting 11 who defeated Treaty United 5-0 at the Market’s Field.
Wanderers made one change with defender Kevin Knight replacing forward Kieran Marty Waters from the line-up who’d drawn 2-2 with Wexford FC at the Carlisle.
Before kick-off, the Leesiders had lost just once in 19 games while the Seagulls had won just three times in their last 20 starts.
Yet with the teenage strikers of Darragh Lynch and Ben Feeney leading the line, the Wicklow outfit went close on after seven minutes when Feeney flashed a low drive narrowly wide.
When Cork and Bray met at the same venue on the opening day of the 2022 season, the Rebels won 6-0. But a repeat of that result never seemed to cards.
Home custodian Stephen McGuinness thwarted Ruairi Keating in the 14th minute before City hit the front seconds later. After good work on the right flank to the end line by Cian Bargary, Cian Murphy was there to apply the finishing touch for his fifth score of the campaign.
In a tight affair after that, Cork doubled their lead in virtually what was the last piece of action of the first period.
Kevin O’Connor swung in a free from the left wing. Ruairi Keating met it with a sweet volley, but McGuinness pulled off a superb save. Defender Jonas Häkkinen was first to react to convert the rebound close in.
With scattered rain descending after the interval, McGuinness mad a fine leg block to thwart Murphy in the 54th minute.
Yet, Bray hit back on 63. After a corner was cleared, sub Kurtis Byrne flighted in a cross which Lynch rose above his marker to guide in a cracking ten-yard header
However, City restored their two-goal cushion in the 71st minute. From James Doona’s centre from the left, McGuinness couldn’t gather. And close in, Keating headed into the open goal.
The hosts had stand-in skipper Conor Clifford sent off with 12 minutes to go in an off the ball altercation with Aaron Bolger who was also booked in the aftermath.
Häkkinen went close to adding a fourth late on with his header off a corner coming back off the post.
Bray Wanderers: Stephen McGuinness; Dan Blackbyrne, Kevin Knight (Jamie Callaghan 87), Jack Hudson, Conor McManus; Callum Thompson (Vilius Labutis 82), Conor Clifford, Eoin Massey (Karl Manahan 52), Paul Fox; Darragh Lynch, Ben Feeney (Kurtis Byrne 52).
Subs not used: Rob Manley, Zak O’Neill, Conor Knight, Eoin McPhilips, Michael Kelly.
Booked: Kevin Knight 44, Labutis 88.
Sent off: Clifford 78.
Cork City: David Harrington; Jonas Häkkinen, Cian Coleman, Kevin O’Connor (Ally Gilchrist 74); Josh Honohan; James Doona (Dylan McGlade 74), Aaron Bolger (Ronan Hurley 84), Matthew Srbely (Healy 64), Cian Bargary (Darragh Crowley 84); Cian Murphy, Ruairi Keating.
Subs not used: Uniss Kargbo, Mark O’Mahoney, Oran Crowe, Jimmy Corcoran.
Booked: Bolger (78).
Referee: Robert Dowling (Kildare).
Pictures by Peter Minogue.