Bray Wanderers 3 Wexford FC 2
Bray climbed up to second place in the SSE Airtricity League First Division as they edged out Wexford in a five-goal thriller.
The result at a wet and windy Carlisle Grounds on Friday saw Wanderers equal their club record of eight games undefeated in all competitions from the start of the season – set back in the 1995/96 season.
Having drawn the last three league fixtures, it was back to winning ways for the hosts.
The word character has been mentioned several times of late.
Having fallen behind away to both Finn Harps and Waterford FC to earn a draw, the Seasiders went one better this time round.
After going 1-0 up, the Garden County outfit trailed 2-1 just before the half hour. But rallied to get back on level terms before the interval before getting a deserved second half winner.
The match saw former Wexford boss Ian Ryan (now Bray’s Head Coach) come up against his former club who have ex-Seagulls coach James Keddy now at the helm.
What proved to be the winner came in the 70th minute.
Cole Omorehiomwan started the move. Play was switched out left were Harry Groome fed sub Conor Davis. Max Murphy whipped in a cross from the left flank. Ben Feeney kept the ball in play by the right endline. His effort was parried on the line by Charlie Heffernan. But Omorehiomwan followed up to convert close in for his third of the campaign.
From the side who’d drawn away to Waterford last week, the Green and White’s made three changes as Len O’Sullivan, Chris Lyons and Ger Shortt all started.
There was also three changes for the visitors. Karl Chambers, Danny Furlong and Corban Piper all came in from the team who’d beaten Kerry 2-1.
The Purple and Gold’s came to the seaside venue undefeated in the last five meetings of the clubs.
Playing against the stiff breeze in the opening period, the Wicklow team hit the front after just six minutes.
From Dane Massey’s through ball, Joe Power laid it off for Harry Groome to create the attack.
Lyons tangled with an opponent just outside the box. Ben Feeney reacted to the loose ball, held off a challenge and slotted in low from ten-yards.
But the visitors equalised just three minutes later, Alex Moody kept out Furlong’s long-range strike but Aaron Dobbs pounced on the rebound close in.
They then hit the front in the 28th minute. From James Crawford’s corner, Furlong’s header was superbly kept out by Moody. But from the next corner sent in by Crawford, Ethan Boyle appeared to get a touch. Although it appeared to go in at the back post off a Bray player.
Bray almost hit back on 33. Shortt’s close effort took a deflection as the ball clipped the bar and over. From Power’s corner that followed, Omorehiomwan diverted the ball goal-wards. But Lyons couldn’t convert close in.
What proved a vital moment in the contest arrived in the 36th minute. Wexford broke in a counter-attack. But Moody thwarted Dobbs with a point blank save.
However, the Green and White’s restored parity five minutes before the interval. Groome’s defence splitting pass released Feeney to side foot low in from 15-yards.
In a second half in which Wanderers had the majority of possession, and dealing with the difficult playing conditions better, they went close to a third score in the 64th minute.
Power linked with Groome and took the return pass before the Greystones man’s effort from 22-yards cannoned back off the left-hand upright.
Bray Wanderers: Alex Moody, Max Murphy, Cole Omorehiomwan, Dane Massey, Len O’Sullivan (Eoin Farrell 26); Luka Lovic, Harry Groome, Joe Power (Conor Crowley 76); Ger Shortt (Conor Davis 76), Chris Lyons (Jake Walker 81), Ben Feeney.
Subs not used: Jack Hudson, Callum Thompson, Zach Donohue, Guillermo Almirall, Stephen McGuinness.
Booked: Ian Ryan (59).
Wexford FC: Charlie Heffernan; Karl Chambers (Jordan Tallon 80), Ethan Boyle, Hugh Douglas, James Crawford; Aaron Doran (Kaylem Harnett 67), Corban Piper, Darragh Levingston, Mark Hanratty; Aaron Dobbs (Sean Fitzpatrick 80), Danny Furlong (Jordan Adeyemo 76).
Subs not used: Colm Cox, Ben Lynch, Matthew Dunne.
Booked: Doran (56), Levingston (58)
Referee: Gavin Colfer (Wicklow).
Mint Plus Man of the Match: Ben Feeney.
Pictures: Dermot O’Brien.