Bray pay the penalty as Park­house nets win­ner

Bray People - - Sport - Daniel GOR­MAN

Bray Wan­der­ers 0, Finn Harps 1: The drive home to Done­gal will have been a very short one in the minds of all as­so­ci­ated with Finn Harps as they took a mas­sive step to­wards safety with this de­served win thanks to a Stephen Park­house penalty.

In a match of two halves the first was bor­ing to say the least but there was plenty of drama in the sec­ond 45 min­utes, with Derek Pen­der be­ing dis­missed for a sec­ond yel­low just af­ter the break and chances at ei­ther end be­fore the penalty.

There were no changes made to the Bray Wan­der­ers start­ing 11 that had per­formed so valiantly against St. Pat’s the pre­vi­ous week, with Gorm­ley de­cid­ing they had per­formed well enough to re­tain their place in the side.

He did make changes on the sub­sti­tute’s bench how­ever, with the ex­pe­ri­enced trio of Alan Caw­ley, Colm Tres­son and Ai­dan O’Keefe be­ing pre­ferred to the youth of Derek Fo­ran, Gareth Cough­lan and Paul Dun­phy.

The first 30 min­utes didn’t see ei­ther goal­keeper hav­ing to make a save, in­deed the only good thing about those 30 min­utes is that they may have cured some­body’s in­som­nia, but we did even­tu­ally see a ‘keeper forced to work soon enough.

Daryl Rob­son claimed he took the ball af­ter a tackle but Lim­er­ick ref­eree Mark Gough dis­agreed and gave a free-kick to Harps in­side the Bray half. Shaun Holmes lifted the ball into the Bray area and Marc Muk­endi met the ball with a down­ward header that Alan Gough gath­ered with ease.

Seven min­utes later though and Gough had to have his wits about him as the Done­gal out­fit cre­ated the first gen­uine chance of the game.

Mark Dug­gan’s touch­line free­kick from the right was cleared away by the away de­fence and this cre­ated a quick coun­ter­at­tack. Gary Beck­ett then re­leased strike part­ner Stephen Park­house who had the strength and pace to fend off the at­ten­tion of Ray Kenny be­fore he drilled straight at Gough from the edge of the box which Gough blocked away with his legs.

This seemed to wake Bray up how­ever as they then cre­ated two chances in quick suc­ces­sion with Rob­son the ar­chi­tect on both oc­ca­sions.

First he played a neat one-two with cap­tain Derek Pen­der with Rob­son’s re­turn pass send­ing Pen­der racing be­yond the de­fence. Pen­der could not get his first goal in a Bray Wan­der­ers shirt how­ever as his low shot was saved by James Gal­lagher and when the bal squirmed un­der his body, Muk­endi scram­bled the ball away be­fore Pen­der could get there.

Rob­son then turned provider for the en­er­getic Jake Kelly, whose quick turn and shot was kept out by a dive to his right from Gal­lagher.

A minute be­fore the break and Harps again went close when a free-kick right on the edge of the box that was given for a foul on Michael Funston by Pen­der, one he would go on to re­gret, was curled into the side net­ting by Holmes.

It was just nine min­utes into the sec­ond-half that that yel­low card came back to haunt Pen­der, af­ter an­other rash chal­lenge on Funston left Mark Gough with no choice to pro­duce the sec­ond yel­low, much to Gorm­ley’s ob­vi­ous an­noy­ance.

On 60 min­utes then a Kevin Do­herty mis­take al­most spelt dis­as­ter for Bray.

The big man at the back hes­i­tated on the ball and cen­tre-half De­clan Boyle nipped in and found him­self with no­body block­ing his route to goal. He looked as sur­prised as every­one else and per­haps took the bet­ter op­tion when he fed Park­house but he hadn’t ac­counted for Gavin Whe­lan get­ting back and sav­ing a goal with a fan­tas­tic tackle.

Five min­utes later though and the ten men were within the width of the cross­bar of tak­ing the lead through Kelly.

Funston lost con­trol of the ball and Do­herty made up for his ear­lier mis­take by find­ing Rob­son, whose fe­ro­cious 20-yard ef­fort can­noned off the un­der­side of the cross­bar but Harps lived to tell the tale.

There was a dra­matic sting in the tail for the home side eight min­utes from the end, when Mark Dug­gan need­lessly hauled down Neill McCaf­ferty in the penalty area af­ter Marc Muk­endi did his best Rory De­lap im­pres­sion with a long throw and a penalty-kick was duly awarded much to Bray’s dis­be­lief, with Ger Rowe pick­ing up a yel­low card for his protests.

The pres­sure may have got­ten to some peo­ple but not Stephen Park­house, who stepped up and af­ter a pause in his run up, sent Gough the wrong way to give Finn Harps a huge win, and a mas­sive three points.

A minute into in­jury-time Bray came ag­o­niz­ingly close to snatch­ing a late point when a Park­house clear­ance took a wicked de­flec­tion off Do­herty, mean­ing Gal­lagher had to dive full length to scoop the ball out of the top cor­ner of his net in what was an out­stand­ing save.

Man of the Match: Stephen Park­house (Finn Harps). Kept his head when it was needed.

Bray Wan­der­ers: Alan Gough 7, Gavin Whe­lan 7, Kevin Do­herty 6, Ray Kenny 6, Derek Pen­der 5, Paddy Ka­vanagh 6, Daryl Rob­son 7, Mark Dug­gan 5, Gary Cronin 6, Jake Kelly 6 (Ai­dan O’Keefe 85’), Ger Rowe 5 (Andy Myler 85’). Subs not used: Chris O’Con­nor, Colm Tres­son, Alan Caw­ley.

Finn Harps: James Gal­lagher 7, Marc Muk­endi 7, Aaron Labonte 6, De­clan Boyle 7, Shaun Holmes 7, Michael Funston 7, Shaun McGowan 6, Neill McCaf­ferty 6, Chris Breen 6 (David Tyrell 87’), Stephen Park­house 7, Gary Beck­ett 6 (Conor Gethins 75’). Subs not used: Aus­ton Friel, Stu­art Malcolm, Gavin Cullen.

Ref­eree: Mark Gough (Lim­er­ick).

Stephen Park­house scores the win­ner from the penalty spot.

Jake Kelly of Bray Wan­der­ers and De­clan Boyle of Finn Harps bat­tle for pos­ses­sion.

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