Excellent display by Bray but Bohs show their class
Bohemians 2, Bray Wanderers 1: One of their best performances of the season from Bray Wanderers didn’t spoil the party for Bohemians last Friday night, who will have to wait another week at least to lift the Premier Division title after Pat’s beat Finn Harps 1-0.
The only change Eddie Gormley made to his starting team was an enforced one, with Alan Cawley coming in for the suspended Derek Pender. This meant Gary Cronin reverted to his more familiar role at left-back and former Gypsy Mark Duggan shifted out to the left wing from central midfield. Ray Kenny was handed the captain’s armband.
The first 15 minutes didn’t go according to the script, with the visitors clearly on top and playing some lovely football at times and even having the cheek to create a few chances.
Two minutes hadn’t passed when Doherty found Kelly in the penalty area. The youngster tried to work an angle for the shot but instead he tried to tee up Mark Duggan a few yards out but the Bohs defence snuffed out the danger.
But the Champions-elect showed their superior quality for the remainder of the half.
The experienced Ray Kenny didn’t hear Alan Gough’s shout of ‘No Ray’ and he allowed the ball to glance off the back of his head so that the goalkeeper could pick it up.
Unfortunately for Kenny Gough was warning him that Glen Crowe had drifted in behind him and Crowe showed his predatory skills to nip in and beat Gough with a superb finish and send Dalymount Park wild.
The Dubliners should have doubled their lead just minutes later when a fantastic ball over the top released former Bray favourite Jason Byrne. Byrne, a first cousin of Liverpool’s Robbie Keane, couldn’t match the pass with a finish though as his low effort was blocked away by the legs of Gough. Byrne then fed the rebound to Crowe but his effort was wide of the target.
Robson then was issued his first yellow card of the night when he hauled down Owen Heary as the home side prepared to launch a counter attack.
On 31 minutes Mindaugas Kalonas had the beating of Gary Cronin before flashing his shot wide and a minute later Jason Byrne smashed a Doherty clearance at goal but Alan Cawley bravely blocked six yards out.
Alan Gough then almost went one further than Brian Murphy when he attempted to find Doher- ty but had his pass stopped by the head of Byrne but there was no harm done as Gough recovered the ball.
Three minutes later a frantic twenty second spell in which Byrne had two great chances should have resulted in a goal but heroic blocks from Bray players kept the score at 1-0.
Just as Gormley thought he was going to get his side into the half time break with a one goal deficit, Bohemians struck again.
Byrne whipped in the corner form the left and after Gough had failed to gather it, Stephen McGuinness was left with the responsibility of heading the ball into the unguarded net.
The second half started at a much slower pace and seven minutes after Gavin Whelan’s goalline clearance for Bray, his side pulled one back.
Paddy Kavanagh was brought down wide on the right and Cawley took the resulting free kick. His delivery caused panic in the box and after a madcap scramble, Ray Kenny made up for his earlier mistake by forcing the ball in.
Bray almost grabbed a shock equalizer on 72 minutes when Cawley’s right wing corner kick found Kenny but his glanced header was wide of the far post.
Ten minutes before the end Robson picked up his second yellow card for blocking a shot with his hand and from the free kick given against him Byrne curled the 25-yarder just wide in what was the last chance of the game.
Ray Kenny of Bray tries to block Mindaugas Kalonas of Bohemians during the game at Dalymount Park.