Bray Wanderers 0 Cork City 6
It was a night to forget for Bray fans but unfortunately one that will live long in the memory.
Not content to subject themselves to braving Storm Eunice and a cutting wind, they also endured a six-goal defeat in an SSE Airtricity First Division match idiotically marred by pyrotechnic displays and reported crowd trouble at the Carlisle Grounds. There was a sense of anticipation pre-match of a new chapter for the club and Kurtis Byrne – debuting alongside Keith Dalton, Zak O’Neill, Vilius Labutis and Paul Fox – almost gave the side the perfect start but he couldn’t get a clean strike to turn Fox’s cross past the Cork keeper David Harrington.
Rob Manley, who many believe will be vital in the opposition box, was thankfully on hand to make a goal line clearance after Barry Coffey attempted to open the scoring. Labutis did his best to warm Bray hearts with some good work in midfield and sent a strong half-volley just wide of the City net. It was a goal kick that proved the Wanderers undoing as Cian Murphy flicked Harrington’s kick to an open Dylan McGlade charging through the defence. The ex-Bray man kept his composure to slot past Stephen McGuinness.
The Seagulls emerged the brighter side when the second half started with Dalton forcing a save from Harrington while Dan Blackbyrne almost guided Byrne corner home but could only find the side netting. What happened between the 57th and 63rd minutes is hard to comprehend. First Barry Coffey broke through the midfield and hit a low effort past McGuinness. He only had to wait another two minutes to get his head on a cross from full back Kevin O’Connor to send City 3-0 up. Not to be outdone and not satisfied with just the one goal against his former side, McGlade took his turn to round out a hat-trick with two goals in three minutes. He again collected the ball in midfield and was able to guide his shot past the keeper before taking the alternative route of going over the keeper with a chip to finish his night’s work. Ruairi Keating made it six with 15 minutes to play when his shot was deflected past McGuinness.
Bray did continue to press and try to take some highlights from a game very short on them for home fans. Dalton again came closest in the late stages, but his effort was saved while the debuting Conor Knight was lively off the bench. Bray do not have long to reflect on the defeat as the tough task of a visit to Waterford awaits next weekend. The return of Conor Clifford and Kevin Knight from suspension will give Pat Devlin some experience options to call into his squad.
With 31 games still to play, it would be very premature to draw any lasting conclusions as to what might happen for the year after just one poor night.
Bray Wanderers: Stephen McGuiness; Daniel Blackbyrne, Sean Callan (Jack Hudson 33’), Hugh Douglas; Keith Dalton (Callum Thompson 82’), Zak O’Neill (Conor Knight 66)’, Vilius Labutis, Dean Zambra (Eoin Massey 66’) Paul Fox; Kurtis Byrne, Rob Manley (Darragh Lynch 86’)
Subs not used: Michael Kelly, Dean Casey, Ugo Anny Nzekwue, Eoin McPhillips.
Booked: Zak O’Neill (29), Eoin Massey (90).
Cork City: David Harrington; Kevin O’Connor, Jonas Hakkinen (Uniss Kargbo 79), Ally Gilchrist, Cian Coleman; Dylan McGlade (James Doona 71), Barry Coffey (Matt Srbely 79), Aaron Bolger (Matt Healy 71), Cian Bargary (Darragh Crowley 79); Cian Murphy, Ruairi Keating.
Subs not used: Jimmy Corcoran, Josh Honohan, Ronan Hurley, Oran Crowe.
Referee: Gavin Colfer.
Report by Kevin Dooney.
Pictures by Alex Connolly.