Bray Wanderers 1 Drogheda United 1
In what was the fifth meeting of the two teams in all competitions in the 2022 season, it finished with honours even for the first time between Bray and Drogheda in the U17 EA Sports National Underage League Tier 2 Phase 2.
United had the better of the first half proceedings on Saturday afternoon at Ballycorus.
But Wanderers dominated the second period as they came from 1-0 down to earn a point from a game, they felt they should have won.
When the two clubs previously met in Group C of Tier 1 action this season, the Seagulls won 3-1 back in March at Berryfield Park in Enniskerry. Then recorded a 2-0 away success at Head in the Game Park last May.
Then last June, the Wicklow side came out on top by a 2-1 score-line at Ballycorus in the Mark Farren Cup.
But in August at Head in the Game Park, Drogheda made it fourth time lucky as they recorded a 4-1 triumph in the EA Sports National Underage League Tier 2 Phase 2 encounter.
It looked as if they could repeat that success as the Louth outfit took a 16th minute lead.
From goalkeeper Finn Moore’s long kick, the ball came to Tadhg Dunne who finished to the net from the edge of the box.
After Daniel Chukwu fired over on 36 with the hosts best first period opportunity, it took a great save by Jamie Molloy to push over John Woods’ 40th minute header.
Yet on the stroke of half, Moore got down well to palm Chukwu’s low drive out for a corner.
It was all one-way traffic after the interval as Wanderers took control. And they levelled matters in the 63rd minute.
Conor O’Gorman broke from the left wing. His disguised pass slipped in Lewis Jacobs inside the box. The attacker slotted past Moore who got a touch. The covering Cian Cleary blocked before the line, but Chukwu snapped up with the rebound with close range half volley.
The Green and Whites went close to taking the lead in the 71st minute. From Joshua Kerr’s corner, the ball pinged around the six-yard area before substitute Jake Murray headed just wide.
Moments later, sub Max Mason burst clear. He tried to chip Moore who clawed the ball down.
Then in the 74th minute, O’Gorman fed Mason who slipped fellow reserve Philip Cooney in. But from the right corner of the box, the U15 player flashed his effort into the side netting.
The home team almost win the tie in injury time. From a quickly taken corner on the left, Mason’s cross-shot was destined for the far top right hand corner of the net. But Moore superbly tipped the ball over the bar.
Bray Wanderers: Jamie Molloy; Daniel Lee, Matthew Rose-Anderson, Paddy Kildee-Doolan, Zach Nolan; Harry Sherlock, Dylan Ryan; Conor O’Gorman, Joshua Kerr, Daniel Chukwu; Lewis Jacobs.
Subs: Eoghan O’Hanlon, Jake Murray, Ronan Dawson, Max Mason, Philip Cooney, Max Hennessey.
Drogheda United: Finn Moore; Adam Cadwell, Brian Cooney, John Woods, Cian Cleary; Ultan McLaughlin; Keith Tighe, Dylan O’Boyle, Liam Herbert, Sean Keogh; Tadhg Dunne.
Subs: Ryan Graham, Conall Cronin, Marcus O’Keeffe, Nicholas Bayti, Cameron Feehan, Ben Boyce, Louis Laclie, Josh O’Reilly, Devin Lynch.
Referee: Willie O’Brien. Assistants: Keith Neville, Mark Wynne (all Wicklow ISRS).
* Bray remains at Ballycorus on Saturday October 8. They will host Athlone Town at 2.00pm.