Bray Wanderers 1 Galway United 3
With the three pre-season favourites to win the SSE Airtricity First Division played and zero points recorded, some people seem very quick to write off the Bray Wanderers’ season.
Despite best wishes to hit the ground running the fixture gods were not kind to the Seagulls and a torrid opening three games has turned any pre-season optimism sour.
While Galway enjoyed more of the ball in the first half at the Carlisle Grounds on Friday, the Wicklow men’s defence looked solid with the return of Kevin Knight adding more experience to the group, and Mick Kelly looking assured when collecting balls.
The Wanderers best chance of the half came on 28 minutes when Conor Clifford played in Paul Fox whose shot from outside the box grazed the side netting.
Twice in the half, the visitors’ Jordan Adeyemo found himself through on goal and could have put the Tribesmen ahead if not for Mick Kelly’s quick reactions to come off his line and snuff out the danger.
With honours even at the break, both sides returned for the second half hoping for that bit of luck to fall their way.
The luck certainly fell the way of the Galwegian’s when on 52 minutes Dan Blackbyrne was judged to have made contact with Adeyemo and not the ball in the box leading to referee Mark Moynihan pointing to the spot.
Calls will come and go your way as the season progresses, but in the current run of form you could only hope one call might break the Bray way. David Hurley dispatched the penalty to the keeper’s left just evading Kelly’s outstretched arm.
Both sides made substitutes around the hour mark, but it was the visitors’ reinforcements who made the bigger impact.
Stephen Walsh got on the end of the through ball and while Kelly was once again quick off his line, this time the Galway man was able to round him and calmly finish into an empty net from outside the box.
Bray’s response was almost instant when a Kurtis Byrne free kick found captain Hugh Douglas’ head in the box two minutes later. The Bray native made solid contact to launch the ball past Conor Kearns.
The Seagulls enjoyed their best period of the season so far as they pushed for an equaliser enjoying plenty of possession in the Galway half but were just unable to find the final touch. Rob Manley had the pick of the bunch when his effort was deflected out for a corner.
United added a flattering third goal in additional time when a Bray throw was cleared to release substitute Shane Doherty who finished low past Kelly.
There is not much time for Pat Devlin’s men to lick their wounds as they head on the road to Longford on Monday, and a longer road trip to Cobh on Friday.
Plenty of opportunity to put the horrid start behind the team and get some points on the board.
Bray Wanderers: Michael Kelly; Daniel Blackbyrne, Hugh Douglas, Jack Hudson, Kevin Knight; Keith Dalton (Rob Manley 58’), Conor Clifford, Dean Zambra (Darragh Lynch 84’), Paul Fox; Kurtis Byrne; Kieran ‘Marty’ Waters (Darragh Levingston 64’).
Subs Not used: Stephen McGuinness, Sean Callan, Zak O’Neill, Dean Casey, Conor Knight, Ugo Anny Nzekwue.
Booked: Kevin Knight 39’, Kurtis Byrne 56’.
Galway United: Conor Kearns; Conor O’Keeffe, Diego Portilla, Killian Brouder, Alex Murphy; Edward McCarthy (Gary Boylan 71’), Conor McCormack, David Hurley, Mikie Rowe (Shane Doherty 87’); Jordan Adeyemo (Wilson Waweru 61’), Manu Dimas (Stephen Walsh 61’).
Subs Not used: Matthew Connor, Charlie Lyons, Dean O’Shea, Francely Lomboto. Max Hemmings.
Booked: Edward McCarthy 58’.
Referee: Mark Moynihan.
MintPlus.ie Man of the Match: Hugh Douglas
Report by Kevin Dooney.
Pictures by Alex Connolly and Peter Minogue