Bray Wanderers 2 Galway United 3
Galway topped Group D of the Eddie Wallace Cup as they edged out Bray in a five-goal thriller.
Both teams went in their final Group stage fixture of the competition on Saturday afternoon having beaten Cavan Monaghan FC and Mayo in their first two outings.
There was an explosive start to the game with two goals inside the opening six minutes.
United went ahead in the third minute – in bizarre circumstances.
From a clearance, striker Cillian Tollett peeled away from the home defence down the left.
From 35-yards yards, he caught Alex Forde out of position and the ball dropped to an empty net.
In the sixth minute, after good work down the left wing by Josh Delves, the ball dropped to Cristiano Bramley. But his six-yard half volley flew just over the bar.
But the Seagulls levelled just moments later.
From Noah Carroll’s goal-kick, Billy O’Neill intercepted on the edge of the box. His low drive was going just off target. But took a nick off a covering away player which diverted the ball over the line.
The Tribesmen went close again in the 11th minute. Shay Brady latched onto a ball over the top. Forde came out to block. Padraig Heinz-Ward’s follow then came back off the post.
The Green and White’s had another opportunity in the 23rd minute.
Billy O’Neill showed pace and strength to get the left by-line. He evaded two tackles to cut in and shoot. With a slight deflection, Carroll fumbled but reacted to gather the ball before the line.
Both teams cancelled each other out in the middle third.
The visitors’ James Morahan headed over from a 46th minute free. Seven minutes later, after good work by the Wicklow outfit’s substitute Sean Howard, fellow reserve Billy Martin got in on goal. But the covering Daithí Casey made a vital block at the expense of a corner.
In comparison, the first third was action packed.
Bray’s custodian Forde made a brilliant push out save to parry Tollet’s 63rd minute bullet header off a corner.
But 90 seconds later, Tollet struck a 25-yard rocket that found the top left hand corner of the net to make it 2-1.
Four minutes later, Billy O’Neill played in Adam Keane. But the Bray sub saw his effort pushed out by United reserve netminder Eoin Doyle.
Galway notched a third goal in stunning style in the 71st minute as Morahan unleashed a 30-yard strike that found the far top left corner of the net.
Wanderers rallied late on and pulled one back in the last minute of normal.
Howard’s shot ricocheted to Billy O’Neill in the box. He span off a marker and cracked a low shot from 15-yards that went in low off the far upright fir his sixth score in the competition form the three Group matches.
The club would like to wish Alex Forde a speedy recovery to full health after picking up an injury in the game.
Bray Wanderers: Alex Forde; Tadgh Worthington, Jack Maguire, Callum Kenna, Evan Lynch; Max Free, Darragh Sherlock; Jake O’Neill, Cristiano Bramley, Josh Delves; Billy O’Neill.
Subs: Jake Fulton, Billy Martin, Noah Byrne, Ethan Doyle, Adam Keane, Sean Howard, Liam Billings.
Galway United: Noah Carroll; Lúc Griallais, Dara Flanagan, Niall McCarthy, Harry Faherty; Michael Gavajuc; James Morahan, Padraig Heinz-Ward, Shane Quirke; Cillian Tollett, Shay Brady.
Subs: Darra Hislop, Stephen Martyn, Daithí Casey, Paddy Ryan, David McLaughlin, Eoin Doyle.
Referee: Rueben Collins (Wicklow ISRS).
* Bray begin their EA SPORTS U14 National League of Ireland – Phase 1 Group C campaign on Saturday July 23 next.
They will take on Shamrock Rovers at Roadstone Academy at 3.00pm.
Then on Wednesday July 27, they will face St. Patrick’s Athletic. Kick off at Blanchardstown IT is at 7.30pm.