Bray Wanderers 1 Cobh Ramblers 1
A battling display saw Bray secure a deserved point at home to U19 EA Sports National Underage League Tier 2 Phase 2 leaders Cobh.
Ramblers took the lead right on half time on Sunday afternoon at Ballycorus after having the better of the first half exchanges.
But Wanderers responded in a much more even second period to draw level in a game that could have gone either way at the final whistle.
The Green and White’s went into the encounter in good form after back to back away victories over Derry City and Longford Town.
But the visitors travelled up unbeaten and top of the section with 16 points from their previous six games.
They started well with defender Shane O’Neill volleying over when well placed after an 11th minute corner.
Ramblers went close again on the half hour.
A free-kick into the box fell to O’Neill. His close range snap-sot appeared to be going in. But Ben Clarke made a cracking reaction save at the expense of a corner.
From Luke Le Bervet Bardsley’s delivery that followed, O’Neill’s header was diverted off the goal-line by the covering Evan Laughlin.
Just as it seemed the teams would go in level at the interval, Cobh scored in the 44th minute.
From a throw off the right-wing, striker Lee Kelly-Obi laid the ball off to Deo Munza who rifled a stunning 20-yard right-footed drive to the top right corner of the net.
Then in stoppage time, Ben Clarke did well to thwart Tiernan O’Brien who latched onto a free into the penalty area.
To their credit, the Seagulls came out a different proposition after the turnaround.
And drew level in style in the 53rd minute through a fantastic team goal.
Half time substitute Hayden Roche slipped a pass to Ben Clark who measured a ball over the top for left-back Zach Donohue to run onto.
He hooked a cross on the run back into the box were the onrushing Josh McGlone steered a first time placed volley from 15-yards to the far bottom corner.
Just after the hour, Conor Knight released Evan Harte down the left channel. But his shot flashed wide.
With a quarter of an hour remaining, the ball rebounded to away sub Eoghan O’Sullivan, but he volleyed over from 16-yards.
Wanderers had the chance to win the tie in the 85th minute.
Full-back Ben Houton was played in down the right. With Harte unmarked and waiting in front of goal, Houton’s lobbed pass was intercepted by Ramblers keeper Darragh Burke.
Two minutes deep into time added on, Le Bervet Bardsley’s long throw was met by sub Eric Nolan’s header. But Clarke made a smart save.
The result leaves Cobh three points clear of the chasing pack after seven fixtures.
Drogheda United remain in second despite suffering their first home defeat on Sunday when going down 2-1 to Treaty United.
It all means that Bray and Treaty are now joint third, a point behind Drogheda.
Bray Wanderers: Ben Clark; Ben Houton, Evan Laughlin, Dan O’Boyle, Zach Donohue; Ben Clark; Jack Murray, Josh McGlone, Conor Knight, Ugo Anny Nzekwue; Evan Harte.
Subs: Hayden Roche, Sean McLean, Kieran Mitchell-Lees, Thomas Downey, Sam Hayden, Gavin Doyle, Kajus Aksamitas.
Cobh Ramblers: Darragh Burke; Jack Dennehy, Daniel Apantaku, Dan Ryan, Shane O’Neill; Deo Munza; Luke Le Bervet Bardsley, Ben Buckley, Glenn Towler; Tiernan O’Brien; Lee Kelly-Obi.
Subs: Eric Nolan, Eoghan O’Sullivan, John Fitzgerald, Craig Doherty, Leo Connolly, Rob Walsh.
Referee: David Connolly.
* Bray face a long trip to Kerry FC on Sunday July 31. Kick-off at Mounthawk Park is set for 2.00pm.