Bray Wanderers 1
Waterford FC 2
Bray’s unbeaten home record at the Carlisle Grounds in the SSE Airtricity League First Division came to an end on Friday when suffering a 2-1 defeat to Waterford.
The Wicklow outfit led 1-0 at the interval in the third versus second encounter. But former Seagull Ronan Coughlan struck twice in the second period to seal the points for the Blue’s.
The match effectively turned on two incidents – one in each period.
The first came in the 22nd minute when – it appeared – there was contact when Chris Lyons went down in the box under pressure from Dean Larkin.
But referee Eoghan O’Shea deemed it simulation. And booked the striker rather than awarding the home side a penalty.
Just after the turnaround saw the second half dismissal of Wanderers defender Max Murphy.
Booked just before the interval (38) for a challenge on Dean McMenemy, the left-back picked up a second yellow in the 52nd minute for a tackle on Tunmise Sobowale.
And the Munster outfit levelled matters in the 55th minute.
Niall O’Keeffe slipped Coughlan past the offside to slot under Stephen McGuinness for his 13th league goal of the campaign.
His 14th followed score followed in the 74th minute. Ryan Burke looped a cross from the left corner flag which Coughlan headed in from close range.
The Green and White’s made three changes to the starting line-up who’d drawn 1-1 with Longford Town last week.
Harry Groome, Lyons, and Conor Davis all returned. On the bench, U19 player Daniel Chukwu was included for the first time in league action.
It took three minutes for Bray to hit the front.
Joe Power whipped over an in swinging corner from the left right footed and Cole Omorehiomwan bundled the ball in at a crowded back post.
Remarkably, it was the defender fifth goal of the season and make him the teams’ top scorer so far in 2023.
But the visitors went close to equalising late in the first period. Coughlan scooped over close in after good work by Sobowale in the 44th minute.
Then in stoppage time, McGuinness tipped Barry Baggley’s corner onto the crossbar.
Bray Wanderers: Stephen McGuinness; Jack Hudson, Cole Omorehiomwan, Dane Massey, Max Murphy; Joe Power (Callum Thompson 73), Harry Groome, Darren Craven (Luka Lovic 58), Guillermo Almirall; Chris Lyons, Conor Davis (Lorcan Fitzgerald 58).
Subs not used: David Webster, Conor Knight, Ben Clarke, Daniel Chukwu, Alex Moody.
Booked: Lyons 22, Lorcan Fitzgerald 53.
Sent off: Murphy (booked 38 and 52)
Waterford FC: Paul Martin; Tunmise Sobowale, Dean Larkin (Eddie Nolan 84), Giles Phillips, Ryan Burke; Niall O’Keeffe, Barry Baggley; Connor Parsons, Dean McMenamy (Roland Idowu 66), Shane Griffin (Chris Conn Clarke 66); Ronan Coughlan.
Subs not used: Harvey Warren, Romeo Akachukwu, Killian Cantwell, Thomas Donaghy, Ronan Mansfield.
Booked: McMenamy 27, Larkin 42, Burke 71.
Referee: Eoghan O’Shea (Tipperary).
Pictures: Michael Kelly.