Bray Wanderers 0 Athlone Town 1
Bray’s two-game winning streak in the U17 LOI Academy Phase 2 Tier Two (North) came to an end on Saturday afternoon after they were edged out by Athlone by a single goal.
In a tight encounter at a sun-kissed Carlisle Grounds, just one score just before the interval proved to be the difference – just as it was when the clubs faced off last July at the Athlone Town Stadium when the Midlanders won 2-1.
Wanderers went close as early as the third minute as ‘Town custodian Conor Wall brilliantly turned Phillip Cooney’s drive onto the crossbar.
The visitors responded with Brandon Wykes shooting wide (5) before Alex Forde denied Cameron Keighery (6).
The vital goal arrived in the 37th minute.
After a right by-line cut-back was cleared in the home defence, the ball dropped to Wykes inside the box.
He controlled to hit a half volley through a crowded six-yard area with the ball nestling in the bottom left corner of the net.
Wanderers did have chances after the turnaround to square the contest.
Dylan Ryan was thwarted by Wall’s fine touch over save on 48.
Cooney bent a 20-yard free just wide on 57 while defender Ronan Dawson headed off target from Rhys Knight’s 50th minute free.
The Green and White’s last opportunity came in the final minute. But Ryan’s snap-shot from wide left flew narrowly wide.
Bray Wanderers: Alex Forde; Jack Nolan, Ronan Dawson, Luke Smith; Ethan Cheese, Paddy Kildee-Doolan, Dylan Ryan; Phillip Cooney, Rhys Knight, Kian Dowling; Billy O’Neill.
Subs: Aidan Kane, Max Free, Ronan Langan, Adam Reid, David Winkler.
Athlone Town: Conor Wall; Gordon Feery, Cormac Sheahan, Michael Mac Sweeney, Isaac Ryan; Ciaran Nolan, Cameron Keighery; Conor Bracken, Brandon Wykes, William Smith; Cillian Rochford.
Subs: Callum Lynch, Noah Byrne, Darragh Kenny, Adam Murphy, Colm Doyle, Albert Edet, Jimmy Walshe.
Referee: Cillian O’Reilly. Assistants: Darren O’Brien, Mark Wynne (Wicklow ISRS).
Pictures: Dermot O’Brien.
* Bray are due to face Drogheda United next Saturday at the NDL Gtrounds.