Wexford FC 1 Bray Wanderers 1
Substitute Adam Reid came off the bench to grab an equaliser and earn Bray an EA SPORTS MU17 LOI Academy point in their opening fixture of the 2023 season.
The Wicklow outfit fell behind early on at Ferrycarrig Park on Saturday afternoon against Wexford. But the Green and White’s battled back to level matters in the Group B contest just after the interval.
A mixture of U17’s from the 2022 campaign plus U15 players making the grade up, the side also featured a number of new faces who went through the pre-season build-up.
But Wanderers conceded less than a minute after kick-off.
After good work by Kaylem Hartnett, Brandon Stafford applied the neat finish to put the Slaneysiders ahead.
The rest of the opening period was a scrappy affair with both teams trying to come to terms with the bobbly pitch.
Chances were few and far between. Hartnett put a free just wide of the post for the home team, while visiting midfielder Luke Smith forced a fine save from host custodian William Gaul.
Reid was introduced at the half time break for the Seagulls. And it didn’t take them long to restore parity.
On 48 minutes, a Harry Sherlock corner wasn’t dealt with by the home defence and Reid pounced to equalise with a crisp finish to the net.
It was a marked improvement in the second half for Bray. And if not for some excellent goalkeeping, wayward finishing and brave defending by the Yellow and Purple team, the visitors could have snatched all three points.
Bray Wanderers: Alex Kearney; Jack Nolan, Alain Kizenga, Caleb O’Neill, Luke Smith; Dylan Ryan, Eric Schütte, Paddy Kildee-Dolan; Lewis Jacobs, Harry Sherlock, Philip Cooney.
Subs: Ronan Langan, Adam Reid, Ronan Dawson, Aidan Kane, Ethan Cheese, Rhys Knight, Max Colbert.
* Bray are provisionally scheduled to play Shelbourne away on Saturday March 4 next. Kick-off at the AUL Complex is set for 12 noon.