Battling Bray unlucky not to get something
MARK QUIGLEY’S 13th League goal of the season with nine minutes remaining in this tie proved to be enough to secure all three points for Pat’s.
With such a huge number of fixtures to contend with, it was no surprise that the Inchicore outfit didn’t match their performance from the last time they visited the Carlisle Grounds, when they enjoyed a well earned 3-0 victory.
The match won’t live long in the memory for either sets of fans and the eventual winners were the better side although credit Bray for restricting them to just a couple of chances with some resolute defending.
St. Pat’s manager John McDonnell made wholesome changes from the side that were defeated 2-0 by German side Hertha Berlin last Tuesday with no less than six changes to his starting 11.
Bray manager Eddie Gormley also made changes but not as many as his opposite number, with youth preferred to experience in attack with Jake Kelly replacing Andy Myler and Daryl Robson was given the nod in midfield, taking the place of Alan Cawley after his ‘performance’ against Galway.
The first-half was possibly one of the worst 45 minutes of football in terms of chances that the Carlisle Grounds has witnessed in some time.
Pat’s showed their threat with just six minutes gone when the disappointing Keith Fahey picked out Glen Fitzpatrick’s run but the striker was just beaten to the ball by Alan Gough.
Bray were again on the back foot on 24 minutes when Bobby Ryan’s pull-back found winger Alan Kirby in space 12 yards out but as he was about to pull the trigger, Paddy Kavanagh got back to nick the ball off his toe with a superb tackle, which the Bray faithful decided deserved a rendition of the Paddy Kavanagh song.
Bray’s first threat on goal came with six minutes left in the first half when Kevin Doherty’s high looping header from a deep Gavin Whelan free-kick had Lance Friesz scrambling across his goal before it went comfortably wide.
Ray Kenny then almost inadvertently set up a goal for Kirby when his attempted clearance flashed across the face of the Bray goal but Gough came out to smother the number seven’s effort.
With just 25 seconds gone in the secondhalf the Bray defence’s generosity continued when Derek Pender and Alan Gough combined to give the Dublin side a free kick from just six yards out after Gough picked up what was adjudged to be a back pass from the versatile defender.
Fortunately the sea of bodies on the Bray line proved too much for Fahey, whose powerful effort was blocked away by the legs of Gough. The net did rustle with 52 minutes gone but unfortunately it was only the side netting for Pat’s after Glen Fitzpatrick’s flick from a Kirby cross was deflected away for a corner.
The goal that the game so desperately needed finally arrived in the 81st minute and little surprise that the man to get it was Mark Quigley.
Substitute Gary O’Neill collected a quick throw in and sent in a cross from the left and Quigley was hovering at the back post and poked it home to make it advantage Pat’s with time running out.
He could have doubled his side’s lead just three minutes later when O’Neill again was on hand to create the chance, launching a quick counter attack before slipping it into Quigley’s path. The number 11 was bearing down on goal quickly but when he decided to shoot, he got his shot wrong and sent it high and wide.
As so often happens when teams are pressing late on, Bray did get a chance and what a chance it was two minutes into injury-time.
Pender took ball and all in a full blooded challenge with Bobby Ryan and the ball broke for Kavanagh on the left wing. The former Birmingham man cut back inside and then whipped in a cross towards the danger area. Kevin Doherty had marauded up from defence and he got his head to the ball and flicked it goal wards.
The unmarked Andy Myler, on the pitch just three minutes, had to react quickly to divert the ball towards the goal from a mere six yards and he did so but former LA Galaxy goalkeeper Lance Friesz showed even quicker reactions to lunge to his right and catch the ball cleanly.
Man of the Match: Mark Quigley (St. Patrick’s Athletic). It was his strike that won the match.
Alan Gough collects a St. Patrick’s Athletic cross in the Wanderers square.