U20 Match Report – Bray Wanderers 0 Finn Harps 1

Bray Wanderers 0 Finn Harps 1

Bray suffered their first EA SPORTS U20 LOI Group A home loss of the season when going down narrowly to Finn Harps.

In a match moved from Ballycorus to the all-weather at Greystones United AFC’s venue of the Woodlands, the away side ground out the single goal victory in blustery conditions on Saturday afternoon.

It could have been a different story had the Seasiders not come up against an in-form Oisin Cooney.

The Irish U17 stopper – who made his senior debut against Bray at the end of the 2023 campaign – pulled off a string of saves to thwart the Green and White’s.

The decisive moment in the game came in the 29th minute.

Home netminder Ben Clark stumbled when trying to clear. Nathan McDaid was first to the loose ball. He steadied himself and scored close in with a low finish.

Wanderers did have opportunities to go in level at the break.

Cooney did exceptionally well to deny Stefan Ugbesia in the 33rd minute as the forward broke free in the box.

Then in the 39th minute, Ugbesia’s touch in the penalty area set-up Alex Nolan. His effort from 12-yards took a deflection off an away defender. But Cooney reacted to make the vital block with his body.

For the most part, the two clubs cancelled each other out in the second period.

Harps went close to a second score in the 79th minute when Dylan McAteer volleyed over when well-placed after Mark McGlynn’s cross.

Twice in a matter of seconds soon after, Wanderers again almost equalised.

Stefan Ugbesia’s 85th minute header was superbly kept out by Cooney. The custodian then recovered to block sub Oluwatofunmi Afolabi follow-up effort off the rebound.

The visitors were reduced to ten players two minutes deep into stoppage time, when striker Max Johnston was shown a second yellow card.

Bray Wanderers: Benjamin Clark; Zach Nolan, Abdurahman Bouderbala, Caleb O’Neill, Destiny Avenbuan; Alain Kizenga, Leon Ajala; Alex Nolan, Joshua Kerr, Alan Seruga; Stefan Ugbesia.

Subs: Tomás Ainsworth, Scott Browne, Callum Goad, Luca Mulhare, Samuel Collins, Paddy Kildee-Doolan, Oluwatofunmi Afolabi, Jack Ellis.

Finn Harps: Oisin Cooney; Darragh Coyle, James McAteer, Dylan McAteer, Óisin Porter; Adam McDaid, Reid Kelly; Mark McGlynn, Nathan McDaid, Adam Duffy; Max Johnston.

Subs: Tiernan Ruddy, Jamie McMonagle Quinn, Caoimhin Bonnar, Ben O’Donnell, Jack Keys, Ryan Galvin, Ronan Callaghan.

Referee: Darren Carey.

* Elsewhere in the section on Saturday, St. Patrick’s Athletic beat Dundalk 5-1 at TU Dublin Blanchardstown. Derry City overcame Shelbourne 2-0 at the AUL Complex.

* Bray are on the road on Saturday March 16. They will face Dundalk at Oriel Park.