Bray goal scorers Billy Martin and Billy O’Neill (2).
Bray Wanderers 3 Drogheda United 1
A stunning Billy O’Neill free-kick paved the way for Bray to secure their first U14 EA Sports National League of Ireland – Phase 1 Group C win of the season.
Leading 1-0 at the end of the first third last Saturday afternoon at Ballycorus, the Seagulls missed a penalty soon after to add to their tally against Drogheda.
United levelled with 25 minutes to go. But Billy O’Neill then struck an unstoppable 25-yard free-kick in the 76th minute before the striker sealed the points deep into stoppage time.
Having succumbed to Shamrock Rovers, St. Patrick’s Athletic and Klub Kildare in their opening three matches in the section, the Green and White’s hit the front in the 13th minute.
From an attack down the left wing, Ethan Doyle found Billy Martin just inside the penalty area. With good close control, he shifted the ball onto his left foot – taking out two opposing players in the process – before firing low into the far corner of the net from 16-yards.
The Wicklow outfit had the opportunity to double that lead just four minutes later.
Billy O’Neill skipped past one tackle on the edge of the box but was brought down by another challenge.
Picking himself up to take the penalty, the attacker saw his driven attempt superbly saved by a diving CJ Odum.
The middle third saw both sides cancel each other out.
That was until the 57th minute when sub Cristiano Bramley won possession off a United goal-kick. He evaded a challenge but saw his effort parried for a corner by Odum.
From Sherlock’s flag-kick that followed, the ball struck the near post.
Within two minutes of the start of the final third of 30 minutes of action, Billy O’Neill pounced when a free that landed in the box. But he rifled wide from 14-yards with the goal at his mercy.
The Boynesiders then levelled matters in the 65th minute.
Substitute Conor Sheehan burst into the box from the left channel but saw his low drive come back off the upright. However, Jamie O’Brien was first to the rebound and slotted in from close range.
Yet with the game seemingly heading for a draw, the hosts were awarded a 25-yard free with 14 minutes left on the clock.
Up stepped Billy O’Neill to unleash a rocket that arrowed into the top left hand corner and came back off the stanchion to spark wild celebrations within the Wanderers faithful.
The points were wrapped up four minutes into time added on.
Skipper Callum Kenna launched a free into the danger zone from wide right on the halfway line. Bouncing in the box, Billy O’Neill reacted to gather. He danced past a tackle before angling a low left footed effort from 15-yards into the bottom right corner of the net.
Bray Wanderers: Liam Billings; Max Free, Callum Kenna, Noah Byrne, Evan Lynch; Sean Howard, Darragh Sherlock; Tadgh Worthington, Billy Martin, Ethan Doyle; Billy O’Neill.
Subs: Ryan Bell, Jake Fulton, Jake O’Neill, Cristiano Bramley, Jack Maguire.
Drogheda United: CJ Odum; Luke Smith, Luke Woods, Alex Quigley, Jake Johnston; Dylan Craig, Tadgh McEvoy, Joe Hegarty, Yannisse Da Silva Lourenco, Jonathan Salako; Jamie O’Brien.
Subs: Robert Johnson, Reagen Oloomee, Redouame Mouusa, Hanson Chetachi-Echieh, Joshua Moore, Conor Sheehan, Ryan Gilchrist, Jordan Collins.
Referee: Derek Gallagher.
* Bray are scheduled to face Carlow Kilkenny FC away at St. Patrick’s Boys AFC in Carlow on Saturday August 13 next. Kick-off is at 2.00pm.