Wexford FC 1 Bray Wanderers 1
With eight changes from Friday night’s team that drew with Cobh, it was hard to know what to expect from a very different looking Bray Wanderers side at Ferrycarrig Park. While ultimately things started a lot better the ending was much the same with another disheartening SSE Airtricity League First Division draw.
The most welcome change to the starting eleven was the full debut of Ben Feeney, a young man full of potential who burst onto the scene with a hat trick for the Cabinteely U19s last season before establishing himself in the senior team with some spectacular goals. Bray looked to immediately go ahead when in the first minute Rob Manley rose highest from a Conor Knight corner but could only find the post with his effort. Feeney, who made his first appearance off the bench on Friday, took little time in establishing himself. Knight was once again sharp as he took a quick free kick to Keith Dalton whose low cross was prodded home by Feeney at the far post to give Bray an early lead. Hopes that a corner might have been turned were short lived, as Wexford were quick to respond.
First Jack Doherty had a free kick saved before the ball was eventually scrambled clear on ten minutes. Doherty was again instrumental when Wexford equalised after 12 minutes. A short corner came to Doherty who played it to Harry Groome before the midfielder shot low and hard past Stephen McGuinness. The Slaneysiders were nearly ahead just minutes later when Dinny Corcoran hit the cross bar before the ball fell to Conor Barry whose effort went high and over. The frantic opening 20 minutes ended as both sides settled into the match and looked to limit the opportunities of the other.
The second half started much the way the first had ended with neither side able to create clear-cut chances although Corcoran proved a handful for the Seagulls defence.
Special mention should go to the performance of debutant left back Conor McManus. A late call up to the starting eleven, the U19 player never looked out of place throughout his time on the pitch. As another draw for the Wanderers looked an increasing inevitability a late glimmer of three points appeared after Kieran Marty Waters’ ball across goal saw Kurtis Byrne hit the post before Keith Dalton was fouled trying to get to the rebound. Referee Paul Norton duly pointed to the spot to award the Wanderers their first penalty of the season. Substitute Darragh Levingston stepped up but his low effort to the left of Alex Moody was saved consigning Bray to head back up the N11 with a single point for their efforts.
Next up Bray will host Waterford at the Carlisle Grounds on Friday night hoping once again to put three points on the board, which despite still being in the first half of the season is feeling increasingly necessary to make moves up the table.
Wexford FC: Alex Moody; Jordan Tallon, Lorcan Fitzgerald, Aidan Friel (Thomas Considine 76’); Kevin McEvoy, Luka Lovic (Conor Crowley 56’), Adam Wells (Len O’Sullivan 83’), Harry Groome (Aaron Dobbs 76’); Conor Barry (Conor Davis 56’), Jack Doherty, Dinny Corcoran
Booked: Aidan Friel 21’, Jordan Tallon 52’, Conor Crowley 60’, Lorcan Fitzgerald 74’, Thomas Considine 80’, Conor Davis 81’.
Bray Wanderers: Stephen McGuinness; Zak O’Neill, Dan Blackbyrne, Jack Hudson, Conor McManus (Enda Douglas 77’); Keith Dalton, Vilius Labutis (Darragh Levingston 75’), Eoin Massey, Conor Knight (Callum Thompson 66’); Ben Feeney (Kurtis Byrne 75’), Rob Manley (Kieran Marty Waters 65’).
Subs not used: Michael Kelly, Darragh Lynch, Eoin McPhillips, Ugo Anny Nwekwue.
Booked: Rob Manley 63’, Keith Dalton 90 + 3.
Referee: Paul Norton
Report: Kevin Dooney.
Pictures: Wexford FC