Match Report – Kerry FC 2 Bray Wanderers 3

Kerry FC 2 Bray Wanderers 3

In a game that almost had everything, Bray secured their first win of the 2024 SSE Airtricity Men’s First Division season with a stunning comeback victory.

The Seagulls left Mounthawk Park on Friday with all three points than thanks to three goals in less than five stunning second half minutes.

First league goals for the club by substitutes Peter Grogan and Cristian Magerusan along with Darren Craven’s equaliser helped see off ten-man Kerry 3-2 – thanks to the three scores coming in four minutes and 39 seconds between the 70th and 74th minutes.

After Philip Gleeson’s dismissal seven minutes before the interval, the team from the Kingdom took the lead in first half stoppage time.

And then went 2-1 up in the 72nd minute as the match lived up to the bizarre weather events.

That was all after a 35-minute weather delay in Tralee.

Hail, sleet, and snow fell from the tenth minute. Then play was stopped in the 15th minute due to thunder and lighting.

The match officials brought the players back out on the pitch soon after only to order them back in.

From the side who’d lost 2-1 to UCD last week, the visitors handed a full league debut to Paul Murphy in defence.

Max Murphy, Guillermo Almirall and Callum Thompson were restored to the starting line-up.

Grogan and goalkeeper Ben Clark were included on the bench.

There was a sixth minute let-off for Wanderers as Okwuy Okwute scuffed wide with just Jimmy Corcoran to beat.

Then in the tenth minute, Corcoran pushed out Okwute’s cross-shot before denying Sean McGrath point-blank off the rebound.

Paul Murphy then volleyed narrowly over off a 14th minute corner for the Seasiders before play was stopped.

Upon its resumption, Gleeson was booked for fouling Harry Groome on 27. He then brought down Max Murphy which resulted in the 38th minute red card.

Yet, the hosts went in front in the first minute of time added on. The ball dropped to Kevin Williams who struck a fantastic swerving shot that dipped just under the crossbar.

Just like UCD last week, the Seagulls had to contend with a team putting nine men behind the ball in the second period.

A triple substitution on the hour mark helped tip the contest in the Wicklow club’s favour as the rain lashed down.

Kieran Cruise’s 70th minute cross led to claims for a handball. But a corner was awarded instead. Shane Griffin whipped the delivery into a crowded six-yard area were Grogan headed in.

But just 90 seconds later, Wanderers gave away a corner. Wind aided; Sean O’Connell’s kick went deep with Samuel Aladesanusi heading in at the back post.

Taking a leaf from the earlier lighting, Bray then produced their own fireworks.

Sub Freddie Turley’s hanging cross from the right in the 73rd minute was fumbled by Antonio Tuta under pressure from Grogan. Cruise’s clever footwork set-up Craven who side-footed expertly into the top right hand corner from 15-yards.

Then in the 75th minute, Griffin floated over a free from the left right footed. Magerusan lost his marker to score with a close range glancing header.

Kerry FC: Antonio Tuta; Kevin Williams, Andrew Spain, Samuel Aladesanusi, Sean O’Connell Kennedy Amechi 78); Steven Healy, Daire McCarthy; Okwuy Okwute (Ethan Kos half time), Sean McGrath (Cian Brosnan 78), Nathan Gleeson; Ryan Kelliher (Victor Udeze 68).

Subs not used: Robert Vasiu, Jack Kavanagh, Ronan Teahan, Ferdia O’Brien, Aaron O’Sullivan.

Booked: Healy 58, James Sugrue 86.

Sent off: Gleeson (booked 27 and 38).

Bray Wanderers: James Corcoran; Cole Omorehiomwan (Freddie Turley 34), Kilian Cantwell, Paul Murphy; Max Murphy (Peter Grogan 60), Darren Craven, Harry Groome (Cristian Magerusan 60), Kieran Cruise (Alain Kizenga 87); Guillermo Almirall (Zach Nolan 60), Shane Griffin; Callum Thompson.

Subs not used: Ben Feeney, Jamie Duggan, Thomas Morgan, Ben Clark.

Booked: Craven 45, Cantwell 59.

Referee: Mark Moynihan (Dublin).

Pictures: Adam Kowalczyk.