Bray Wanderers 3 Dundalk 4
Bray came out the wrong side of a seven-goal thriller in Group B of the U15 Michael Hayes Cup in the EA Sports National Under League
Wanderers led 2-0 in the opening third at Ballycorus on Sunday afternoon. But Dundalk rallied to lead 3-2 in the second third only for the Seagulls to restore parity at 3-3.
The Louth side went back 4-3 in front soon after. The Wicklow outfit then had a goal controversially ruled out for offside before being denied what seemed a clear penalty for handball with five minutes to go.
With the game delayed due to a clash of colours, the home team flew out of the blocks and took a fourth minute lead.
Fionn Murray’s raking cross-field ball from the right of his own half was latched onto by Max Colbert. Getting behind two defenders, he lobbed over the on-rushing Logan Kierans to an empty net from 16-yards.
The cross-bar denied Ethan Cheese on 18 when he met Ciaran Leeson’s left wing cross.
But the Green and White’s deservedly doubled that cushion seconds later. From 25-yards, Rhys Knight tried his luck from a free-kick. The ball squirmed through the keeper’s arms and dropped over the goal-line.
The visitors pulled one back in the 19th minute. From Cian Murphy’s left-footed corner from the right, Caimin Hughes powered in a back post header.
Eight minutes in the second third and the Lilywhites drew level. Conall Alfred’s shot from 20-yards on the left of the penalty area hit the far post. Runako Sweetman reacted to the rebound and chested the ball over the line.
Ten minutes later, Sweetman was adjudged to have been fouled in the 18-yard area. Joe Collins got a hand to Daniel Putman’s penalty but could not stop the ball finding the net.
However, the hosts made it 3-3 on 54. From Collins’ long ball up field, Colbert got in behind his marker. The striker’s intended pass to sub Darragh Emmett was cut-out, but Colbert pounced on the ricochet to drill in low from 16-yards.
Yet within seconds, Dundalk went 4-3 in front with a thunderous effort by substitute Fionn McNamara from 25-yards.
There was still time in the period for Colbert to complete what thought was his hat-trick soon after. But his attempt was ruled out for offside when it appeared a visiting player was playing him onside.
With ten minutes of normal time remaining, Putnam headed Murphy’s free off the bar.
Then in the 75th minute, a clever reverse pass by Cheese saw Colbert deliver into the box off the right by-line. His centre was handled by a Dundalk player. But no penalty was awarded.
Elsewhere in the section today, Bohemians defeated Longford Town 5-1 at Bishopsgate.
With Wanderers having lost 3-1 to Bohs in their first game in the section last month, and despite Longford defeating Dundalk 2-1, second placed is still up for grabs.
Bray return to Ballycorus on Sunday June 26 next to entertain Longford. Kick-off is at 12 noon.
In order to finish as runners-up to Bohs, they must win, and hope Dundalk lose too Bohs – with a +3 turnaround in goal difference as well.
Bray Wanderers: Joe Collins; Fionn Murray, Alain Kizenga, Ronan Dawson;
Aidan Kane; Janek Sarwinski, Ethan Cheese, Rhys Knight, Ciaran Leeson; Phillip Cooney, Max Colbert.
Subs: Ross Young, Leon O’Sullivan, Jack Nolan, Dylan Bourke, Darragh Emmett, Sam Baker.