Treaty United 0 Bray Wanderers 1
Super-sub Ben Feeney’s 89th minute goal gave Bray their first ever away victory over Treaty at the Markets Field.
Last season’s joint top goal-scorer came off the bench to snatch the late winner and help the Seagulls to their first SSE Airtricity League First Division opening day success since 2019.
Under new head coach Ian Ryan, the Wicklow side handed nine league debuts in their starting line-up with captain Dane Massey and striker Chris Lyons making their returns to the club,
Just when it seemed the away side would have to settle for a draw, they grabbed the crucial score in the second last minute of normal time.
It had it’s foundations in Greystones as sub Callum Thompson angled a ball cross-field from the right. It found fellow reserve Joe Power on the left flank. He then crossed deep to the back post.
United defender Anthony O’Donnell got a header in. But Jake Walker reacted to cut the ball back with Feeney scooping to the roof of the net close in.
In a tense and nervous opening period, clear-cut chances were at a premium.
Yet Alex Moody had to come racing outside his penalty area after just five minutes to ward off the breaking Conor Barry at the expense of a corner.
O’Donnell headed over Marc Ludden’s cross on 13 while seconds later at the other end, Jake Walker couldn’t reach Len O’Sullivan’s centre following a quick Conor Crowley corner.
Just before the half hour mark, O’Donnell couldn’t keep his header down off Barry’s free-kick. Bray’s reply was instant as Walker tried to pick out the waiting Lyons. But the covering O’Donnell got there to clear inside the box.
Walker again was the prover in the 39th minute. But put too much on the ball when trying to find the breaking Crowley and Ger Shortt in the danger zone.
Right on half time, Moody had to produce the first real save of note when parrying Lee Devitt’s drive. The custodian recovered to smother Ludden’s low follow up.
Wanderers had an early second period opportunity. When two Treaty players collided in the 47th minute, Crowley’s cut-back from the right endline set-up Lyons. But he scuffed the effort with Conor Winn gathering.
Max Murphy whistled a 49th minute long range attempt just off target. There was then a short delay before the hour with apparently spectators on the pitch – much to the bemusement of most attending. From the resumption, O’Donnell just failed to get on the end of Ludden’s inviting free-kick.
The action continued immediately with Shortt standing up an opponent. But bending his shot just wide with the outside of his right boot.
A fantastic block by Cole Omorehiomwan thwarted the Limerick outfit on 76 after Moody had parried. Withing seconds, the keeper made a fine save to deny Barry.
Three minutes later, Stephen Christopher also put into his own net when heading Crowley’s cross out for a corner.
With time running out, Feeney popped up with the decisive score to earn a first away victory since August 2022. And a first clean sheet on their travels since April last year.
Treaty United: Conor Winn; Stephen Christopher, Ben O’Riordan, Anthony O’Donnell, Marc Ludden; Colin Conroy, Mark Walsh, Lee Devitt; Dean George, Conor Barry; Enda Curran.
Subs: Willie Armshaw for Conroy (66); Success Edogun for George (81); Colin Kelly for Barry (90 +1), Scott Kirkland, Martin Coughlan, Darren Collins, Darren Nwanlwo, Josh Quinlivan, Shane Hallahan (all not used).
Booked: Barry (20).
Bray Wanderers: Alex Moody; Max Murphy, Cole Omorehiomwan, Dane Massey, Len O’Sullivan; Conor Crowley, Guillermo Almirall, Harry Groome; Ger Shortt, Jake Walker, Chris Lyons.
Subs: Joe Power (for Almirall), Luka Lovic (for Groome) (both 62); Callum Thompson for Shortt, Ben Feeney for Lyons (both 82); Eoin Farrell for Crowley (88), Jack Hudson, Conor Davis, Conor Knight, Stephen McGuinness,
Booked: Massey (26), Almirall (36), Shortt (82), Omorehiomwan (90 + 5).
Referee: David Connolly.