Cobh Ramblers 2 Bray Wanderers 1
Bray’s bid to make a bit of history ended with their first defeat in all competitions in the 2023 season.
On the back of their joint best-ever undefeated start to a campaign of eight games in all competitions, Wanderers went down 2-1 to Cobh on Friday at St. Colman’s Park.
Despite dominating possession and having the better first half chances, the visitors somehow trailed 1-0 at the interval.
The match effectively turned in a four-minute spell midway through the second period.
Out of nothing, Alex Moody went to clear on the bobbly pitch in the 61st minute.
But he miscued, which allowed Wilson Waweruin. The striker went down in the box with referee Marc Lynch awarding a penalty – and a red card for the goalkeeper.
That promoted Stephen McGuinness to take over between the sticks for the ten-men.
His first act was to save Jack Doherty’s spot-kick.
However, just seconds later, the hosts re-took the lead.
Cian Browne’s long throw near the left corner flag was flicked on by Brendan Frahill. And Waweru scored with a close range half volley.
Without the injured captain Dane Massey and Len O’Sullivan, Jack Hudson made his first league start of the season alongside Eoin Farrell in defence.
Conor Crowley replaced Harry Groome in midfield.
On the bench, club Assistant Head Coach Lorcan Fitzgerald was included amongst the substitutes.
That meant Chris Lyons took the captain’s armband.
The Green and White’s went close in the 24th minute when Crowley was played in up the middle. He played a one-two with Chris Lyons only to shoot low and straight at Lee Steacy.
Two minutes later, Ger Shortt’s effort ten-yards out was deflected up and over the crossbar.
Against the run of play, the Munster outfit took a 41st minute lead.
Jack Doherty clipped in a free-kick and Brendan Frahill got free to loop in a header.
But the Wicklow side were back on level terms six minutes after the interval.
Ben Feeney drove in a low from the right of the box with Frahill diverting the ball into his own net at the near post.
Yet, Ramblers also went back in front in the 55th minute. From Doherty’s back-heel, Luke Desmond burst into the danger zone. His slotted wide of the target close in under pressure from Omorehiomwan’s challenge.
Just before the hour, Wanderers had an opportunity to hit the front. From Chris Lyons’ lay-off, sub Guillermo Almirall’s low shot took a deflection that Steacy got down to make a parried save.
Then came the red-card; penalty and the home teams second goal.
Four minutes deep in stoppage time, the Seagulls had one final chance. Hudson’s long throw was only headed to sub Jake Walker. But his skied the ball high and over when well placed.
The result sees the team swap places in the table, with Cobh now up to second place – a point ahead of Bray in third.
Cobh Ramblers: Lee Steacy; Michael McCarthy (Justin Eguaibor 23), Brendan Frahill, Charlie Lyons, Cian Browne; Pierce Phillips; Luke Desmond (Callum Stringer 79), Dale Holland, James O’Leary (Issa Kargbo 87); Jack Doherty; Wilson Waweru.
Subs not used: Jake Hegarty, Conor Drinan, Claudio Osorio, Liam Kervick, Tiernan O’Brien, Darragh Burke.
Booked: Charlie Lyons 38, Frahill 41, Shane Keegan 51, Holland 68,
Bray Wanderers: Alex Moody; Eoin Farrell (Guillermo Almirall half time), Jack Hudson, Cole Omorehiomwan, Max Murphy; Conor Crowley, Luka Lovic (Stephen McGuinness 63), Joe Power (Harry Groome 67); Ger Shortt (Callum Thompson 80), Chris Lyons (Jake Walker 80), Ben Feeney.
Subs not used: Conor Davis, Conor Knight, Lorcan Fitzgerald, Zach Donohue.
Booked: Feeney 15, Omorehiomwan 52, Shortt 75, Hudson 78.
Sent off: Moody 61
Referee: Marc Lynch.