Bray Wanderers 1
Galway United 1
Bray made it five SSE Airtricity League First Division games unbeaten as they played out a 1-1 draw with leaders Galway.
The Seagulls became only the second team in the 2023 season to prevent the Tribesmen from winning after they had won 15 of the previous 16 league outings.
It was a tale of two penalties at a sun-kissed Carlisle Grounds on Friday evening.
There was no repeat of the 6-0 success for the Connacht side when the clubs met last April at Eamonn Deacy Park.
The Maroon’s were awarded two penalties in that contest. David Hurley scored one of them.
And in the three ties between the clubs in the 2022 campaign, they received three spot-kicks. Hurley converted them all.
Despite a bright start by the hosts, the visitors took an eighth minute lead.
Max Murphy was deemed to have clipped Stephen Walsh inside the penalty area. David Hurley slotted in the spot-kick – remarkably for the fourth successive game between the clubs.
However, just four minutes into the second period, Green and White’s attacker Chris Lyons was tugged back by Robert Slevin who brought the forward down in the box.
The central defender was given a second yellow and was dismissed. Lyons picked himself up to make no mistake from the 12-yard dead-ball.
Hit by suspensions, Wanderers made five changes from their draw last week with Cobh. In came skipper Dave Webster for his first home league start of the season.
He was joined in defence by Len O’Sullivan. Midfielder Luka Lovic and winger Callum Thompson also started while Lyons was restored to the front line after injury.
The fact that the progression from the underage set-up is clearly there for all to see was underpinned with 16-year-old U17 defender Caleb O’Neill included amongst the substitutes.
Having fallen behind, Bray were close to equalising right on the stroke of half time. Lyons got through. But was hauled down by Slevin on the edge of the box – which led to the defender’s first booking.
It took a superb fingertip save by Brendan Clarke to deny Darren Craven off a 20-yard free-kick as the custodian put the ball over his bar.
Dominating from them until the final whistle after the red card, the Wicklow outfit bossed the tie.
Conor Crowley stung the palms of Clarke on 74 with a driven cross-shot.
The best chance the Seasiders had to win it came in the 82nd minute when from sub Joe Power’s corner, Ben Feeney headed to the unmarked Craven who nodded wide close in.
The result means that Bray have secured points off all nine teams in the Division so far this season.
Bray Wanderers: Alex Moody; Max Murphy, Jack Hudson, Dave Webster, Len O’Sullivan (Zach Donohue 90 + 4); Luka Lovic, Conor Crowley; Ben Feeney, Darren Craven, Callum Thompson (Joe Power 72); Chris Lyons (Conor Davis 84).
Subs not used: Conor Knight, Lorcan Fitzgerald, Daniel Chukwu, Caleb O’Neill, Stephen McGuinness.
Booked: Thompson 24, Crowley 34, Murphy 58, Craven 71, Davis 90 + 5.
Galway United: Brendan Clarke; Conor O’Keeffe, Robert Slevin, Killian Brouder, Regan Donelon (O’Reilly 72); Conor McCormack; Edward McCarthy, David Hurley, Vincent Borden (Maurice Nugent 64), Francely Lomboto (Rob Manley 64); Stephen Walsh.
Subs not used: Michael Walsh Rowe, Ibrahim Keita, Evan O’Connor, Darren Clarke, Steven Healy, Alex Rutter.
Booked: Ollie Horgan 50, Manley 74.
Sent off: Slevin (booked 45 + 1 and 49).
Referee: David Dunne (Dublin).
Pictures: Mick Hanney.