Wanderers suffer narrow defeat to Drogheda in pre-season

Bray Wanderers 0 Drogheda United 1

Friendly, Berryfield Enniskerry, 2 February 2022

It was another night for Pat Devlin to get a look at his new squad and for the players to form partnerships that will hopefully be fully settled come the 2022 season opener against Cork City on February 18th.

With eighteen players getting minutes in the legs at Berryfield Park in Enniskerry on Wednesday February 2, Bray’s management can be happy with his squad’s performance despite falling to a narrow defeat to the Premier Division side.

Drogheda started on the front foot, but for all their possession, struggled to break the solid Bray defence marshalled by Séan Callan, partnered with a different member of the Douglas family this week as Enda, cousin of Hugh, stepped in. With 15 minutes to play in the half, Wanderers came into their own and as they forced the Drogs deeper Sam Long into action with Conor Knight pressing down the right while Karl Manahan pulled the strings in the midfield. Dean Casey, then Knight and then Manahan forced saves from Long. Despite United’s efforts to launch counter attacks, one of which resulted in the ball cannoning off the post through former on-loan Seagull Dean Williams, the half ended scoreless. Both managers used the second half to give players a run out.

The Boynesiders breakthrough came in the 69th minute when winger Georgie Poynton fed Darragh Markey with a low pass into the Bray box. Markey created space for himself before firing a low shot into the bottom left corner. Callum Thompson’s introduction continued Bray’s threat on the right as the Wanderers pushed for an equaliser, but they were unable to unlock the back three of the Louth side. The visitors went close to a second with Bray native Chris Lyons heading against a post. With more game time in the system Devlin can be happy with his side’s efforts as they continue pre-season this weekend with a match against Shamrock Rovers, before ending the run of games against Derry on Friday week.

Plenty of opportunities for players to impress their manager and keep the competition for a place in the starting eleven going until the all-important league opener versus Cork City at the Carlisle Grounds on February 18th.

Bray Wanderers: Mick Kelly; Jack Hudson, Séan Callan, Enda Douglas, Dean Casey (Sean McLean 90’); Conor Knight (Zak O’Neill 57’), Karl Manahan (Trialist A 90’), Eoin Massey (Darragh Levingston 67’), Paul Fox (Callum Thompson 67’); Eoin McPhillips (Darragh Lynch 63’), Kieran Marty Waters (Billy Hendley 57’).

Drogheda United: Sam Long (Aaron Davis); Andrew Quinn (Charles Mutawe), Mark Hughes, Evan Weir; Darragh Nugent (Georgie Poynton 46’), Darragh Markey, Gary Deegan (James Clarke 46’), Luke Heeney, Dayle Rooney; Dean Williams (Dylan Grimes 46’), Adam Foley (Chris Lyons).

Match report: Kevin Dooney