U19s suffer first Tier 2 Phase 2 defeat

Bray Wanderers 2 Athlone Town 3

Playing their first game in over a month, Bray suffered their first U19 EA Sports National Underage League Tier 2 Phase 2 loss when going down to Athlone.

The Seagulls had started their campaign at the end of the May with a 2-0 home success over Wexford FC at Ballycorus.

After the mid-season break, Wanderers’ scheduled first outing back against Longford Town last Sunday (June 26) was postponed at Bishopsgate.

So, the clash with the Westmeath side last Wednesday (June 29) at Ballycorus was their first game in 32 days.

The home side led 1-0 at the interval. But the visitors hit three scores by the 65th minute before the Green and White’s pulled one back in stoppage time.

After Kajus Aksamitas pushed Ger O’Connor’s fifth minute free out for a corner, the hosts took a 14th minute lead.

From Ben Clarke’s corner, the ball dropped near the left corner of the six-yard area. Zach Donohue lofted it to the back post were Jamie Callaghan planted a close range header to the net.

Aksamitas denied O’Connor again on 16th with a punch out save from the striker’s free.

‘Town’s goalkeeper Sam Krebs went to have a man of the match display. He pushed out Zach Donohue’s effort after Cillian Melwani’s 26th minute right-wing cut-back.

Aksamitas tipped O’Connor’s free on the half hour over the bar on the half hour before Matthew McCarrick sent a free header off Blake Ryan’s corner just before half time.

The second period was just two minutes old when the visitors equalised. Aksamitas’ parried out a right-wing cross. But the ball rebounded off Ben Houton and rolled into the net for an own goal.

The Midlanders went 2-1 ahead in the 51st minute. O’Connor cut-out a clearance on the edge of the box. Aksamitas saved the first shot, but the forward drilled in low the follow-up.

Just 90 seconds later at the other end, Callaghan met a free with a firm header. But Krebs made a superb save then reacted to push away sub Josh McGlone’s rebound.

Athlone made it 3-1 in the 65th minute. Aksamitas made a wonderful double save but a Bray defender brought down an opponent in the box with O’Connor scoring the resulting penalty.

Krebs thwarted McGlone with another stop on 81 before the home team pulled one back three minutes into stoppage time.

Melwani beat the offside wide left. Cutting in, his shot was saved by Krebs. The ball came to sub Jack Murray who picked out the unmarked Melwani who volleyed to the roof of the net close in.

Bray are on their travels this coming Sunday (July 3) when they take on Wexford FC at Ferrycarrig Park with a 1.00pm kick-off.

Bray Wanderers: Kajus Aksamitas; Ben Houton, Jamie Callaghan, Luke O’Connor, Jack Curran; Jack Kehoe, Gavin Doyle; Cillian Melwani, Ben Clarke, Zach Donohue; Evan Harte.

Subs: Jack Murray, Josh McGlone, Kieran Mitchell-Lee, Evan Laughlin, Dan O’Boyle, Thomas Downey, Ben Clark.

Pictures: Des O’Connor.