Sometimes football can be a cruel.
Despite a positive display against the champions elect, Bray went down to Galway on a glorious Friday evening at the pristine Carlisle Grounds.
The end score-line did not truly reflect the SSE Airtricity Men’s First Division match with United twice scoring in stoppage time.
Vital decisions also did not go the Seagulls way as the visitors were awarded a contentious penalty to take the lead.
While a late tackle by away goalkeeper Brenan Clarke went unpunished on striker Chris Lyons as he tried to go through on goal (80 minutes), Max Murphy then appeared to be fouled in the right corner of the box five minutes later.
But neither produced a decision in Bray’s favour.
The Wicklow outfit made one change to their line-up after beating Kerry last week with Dane Massey coming back in to captain the side.
On the bench, Jack Hudson returned after illness.
A tight first period came to life in the 33rd minute.
A long throw was cleared to the waiting David Hurley 22-yards. His attempt hit the post and Stephen Walsh reacted to plant the rebound to the net.
But the Green and White’s were back on levels terms in the 40th minute.
Harry Groome picked up a loose ball outside the penalty. He skipped past a couple of tackle in to the box and create space to bend in a 15-yard effort that Brendan Clarke got his fingertips on its way to the net.
When the teams meet, it just seems inevitable that the Maroon’s would be awarded a penalty.
In the three ties between the clubs in the 2022 campaign, they received three spot-kicks.
In the previous 2023 three encounters, they were also awarded three spot-kick’s.
So, for the seventh time in seven fixtures, Bray were deemed to have fouled again in the box in the 64th minute.
From a quick throw down the left, sub Francely Lomboto tried to cut inside Cole Omorehiomwan by the endline. As the defender tried to guide the ball out, the winger went down, and referee Paul Norton pointed to the spot.
For the sixth time out of those penalties, Hurley made no mistake from 12-yards.
Lyons had been brought on at the interval.
In the 48th minute, he was clearly bundled over by Brendan Clarke to the left of the centre circle. But play was somehow allowed carry on.
Then in the 80th minute, Lyons got in behind Maurice Nugent. He got a nudge on the back by the centre half while then being caught by the on-rushing goalkeeper.
With many in the ground expecting the match official to reach for the back pocket, no action was taken.
In the 85th minute, sub Conor Crowley’s cross went all the way across the box from the left. Max Murphy got there ahead of Lomboto who appeared to clip the full-back in the area. Again, no foul was given.
As the hosts pressed for the vital equaliser, they left gaps at the back.
They were exploited in the 93rd as Lomboto slipped in Walsh to fire through Matt Connor’s body.
Then in the 94th minute, Aodh Devin squared for Walsh to slot in low close in.
Bray Wanderers: Matt Connor; Max Murphy, Seán Quinn (Chris Lyons half time), Cole Omorehiomwan, Dane Massey; Darren Craven, Harry Groome (Conor Crowley 78), Guillermo Almirall, Len O’Sullivan (Thomas Morgan 90 + 1); Callum Thompson, Yoyo Mahdy (Jake Walker 78).
Subs not used: Jack Hudson, Conor Knight, Lorcan Fitzgerald, Daniel Chukwu, Alex Moody.
Booked: Quinn 37, Ian Ryan 81, Lorcan Fitzgerald 86.
Galway United: Brendan Clarke; Conor McCormack, Killian Brouder, Maurice Nugent, Robert Slevin; David Hurley, Vincent Borden; Edward McCarthy (Aodh Dervin 70), Stephen Walsh, Darren Clarke (Francely Lomboto 57); Wassim Aouachria (Rob Manley 86).
Subs not used: Alex Rutter, Daire McCarthy, David Tarmey, Evan O’Connor, Oisin O’Reilly, Brian Cunningham.
Booked: Aouachria 84, Dervin 90.
Referee: Paul Norton (Dublin).
Pictures: Mick Hanney (Bray Camera Club).