Bray Wanderers 2 Cobh Ramblers 1
Conor Knight’s first senior goal helped keep Bray’s outside play-off hopes alive.
Chris Lyons’ ninth goal of the season for the Wicklow club also helped secure a 2-1 SSE Airtricity First Division victory on Friday evening over third placed Cobh at the Carlisle Grounds.
It was the Green and White’s first home win since the end of June.
They are now seven points behind fifth placed Athlone Town (who they play next week) with three league matches remaining.
Having succumbed to Wexford last week, Wanderers made three changes with Jack Hudson, Knight (his first league start of 2023) and Chris Lyons coming in.
After Seagull Lee Steacy denied Lyons after the striker beat the away offside on 24, the hosts hit the front in the 27th minute.
Skipper Darren Craven whipped in a free right footed from the left flank. Chris Lyons got a deft back header that dropped into the far corner of the net.
That lead was only maintained by Matt Connor’s fingertip save to keep out Brendan Frahill’s glancing header on 34 off Mikie Rowe’s corner.
It become 2-0 in the Seasiders favour in the 38th minute.
Craven slalomed in off the right flank into the box. His initial effort was blocked.
His second shot was parried by Lee Steacy. But the rebound fell to Knight who placed a low volley in from close range for his first ever senior goal.
Just after the hour, Chris Lyons latched onto a ball down the left channel. He evaded two tackle when bursting into the box. But his curling 15-yard drive flew just over the bar.
Just 29 days after his 16th birthday, Philip Cooney became the seventh underage player to debut with the first-team this season by coming on as an 88th minute substitute.
There was almost a fairytale for the Bray teenager. But in the 93rd minute, he leaned backwards and placed his 15-yard attempt high and over after Max Murphy’s cutback.
Ramblers spurned the chance to get on the score-sheet sub Wilson Waweru scuffed wide four-yards out from Cian Browne’s hanging cross in the 94th minute.
However, the visitors pulled one back deep into stoppage time
Jack Doherty’s 96th minute corner was headed goal-wards by sub Charlie Lyons. Connor appeared to be fouled by Justin Eguaibor when claiming the ball under his bar.
But referee Robert Dowling allowed play to carry on as the ball dropped loose with Frahill squeezing poking over the line close in.
Bray Wanderers: Matt Connor; Max Murphy, Jack Hudson, Cole Omorehiomwan, Len O’Sullivan; Guillermo Almirall (Conor Crowley 76), Harry Groome (Philip Cooney 88), Darren Craven; Conor Knight (Conor Davis 84), Callum Thompson (Thomas Morgan 88); Chris Lyons (Yoyo Mahdy 76).
Subs not used: Dave Webster, Dane Massey, Daniel Chukwu, Alex Moody.
Booked: Omorehiomwan 25, Almirall 33, Hudson 63.
Cobh Ramblers: Lee Steacy; Justin Eguaibor, Brendan Frahill, Charlie O’Brien (Wilson Waweru 67); Michael McCarthy, Dale Holland (Jason Abbott 85), Alec Byrne (Luke Desmond 67), Cian Browne; Mikie Rowe (James O’Leary 75); Jack Doherty, Matt McKevitt (Charlie Lyons 75).
Subs not used: Daragh O’Sullivan Connell, Dean Larkin, Liam Kervick, Darragh Burke.
Booked: Shane Keegan 58, McKevitt 63, Holland 70, Doherty 77, Frahill 87.
Referee: Robert Dowling (Kildare).
Mint+ man of the match: Conor Knight.
Pictures: Mick Hanney (Bray Camera Club).