Young Seag­ulls on song

SOC­CER LEAGUE OF IRE­LAND UN­DER-20S

Bray People - - Sport - Daniel GOR­MAN

Bray Wan­der­ers 3, UCD 1: While Alan Gough et al may have been sit­ting at home with their feet up on Mon­day night, the stars of to­mor­row were bat­tling to an im­pres­sive 3-1 win over lo­cal ri­vals UCD.

Bray Wan­der­ers’ U-20 side per­formed very well for the full 90 min­utes and there were many wor­thy candidates for the man of the match award.

One of those candidates gave Bray the lead with the first chance of the game with ten min­utes gone in the match. Ian McNeill picked the ball up well into the UCD half and af­ter hav­ing a quick look up, the striker un­leashed a crack­ing 25-yard drive straight into the top cor­ner of the net, leav­ing the goal­keeper with no chance.

Four min­utes later the hosts thought they had dou­bled their leads only for ex­pe­ri­enced of­fi­cial Richie Win­ter to raise his flag for off­side.

Bray’s Young Player of the Year Gareth Cough­lan was mak­ing some prob­ing runs on the right and on this oc­ca­sion he bril­liantly dinked the ball to the far post where for­mer Pre­sen­ta­tion Col­lege Bray stu­dent Shane O’Neill rose to head home but his joy was short-lived.

Less than a minute later Cough­lan again caused trou­ble but this time went by him­self and cut in­side be­fore send­ing a rasp­ing left-footed drive just wide of the far post.

Mid­way through the half Cough­lan was once more at his best but this time his touch let him down when he was well placed and it al­lowed UCD goal­keeper Ger­ard Bar­ron to come out and smother his ef­fort.

UCD then pro­duced their first real ef­fort on Brian Kane’s goal af­ter a scram­ble in the box led to Kane hav­ing to pull of a very smart re­ac­tion save to keep his clean sheet.

On the half hour mark an un­be­liev­able 35-yard ef­fort from a UCD player can­noned back off the cross­bar with Kane a mere spec­ta­tor.

Five min­utes af­ter the break Bray were back in con­trol and McNeill cre­ated the first op­por­tu­nity when he sprayed the ball out to Jake Kelly on the left but the num­ber 11’s cross-cum-shot was com­fort­ably saved.

Then on the hour mark Bray gave them­selves some breath­ing space with a goal of true class. Cap­tain Chris Shields’ fan­tas­tic ball picked out Kelly per­fectly and the young­ster took his man on be­fore skip­ping by him and fir­ing low and hard past the UCD shot-stop­per.

Just a minute later though Bray shot them­selves in the foot when David Web­ster was ad­judged to have com­mit­ted a foul in the box and John Dal­ton con­verted the spot kick to leave the home side on edge.

Seven min­utes be­fore the end though and the re­sult was put be­yond doubt when Shane O’Neill got the goal his per­for­mance de­served af­ter he coolly con­verted the penalty won by McNeill.

Man of the Match: Dean Zam­bra (Bray Wan­der­ers). A full­blooded per­for­mance from the tough mid­fielder.

Bray Wan­der­ers: Brian Kane, Dean Fletcher, David Web­ster, Chris Shields, Dane Massey, Gareth Cough­lan (Ian Tuohy 76’), David O’Neill, Dean Zam­bra, Jake Kelly, Ian McNeill (Ian Master­son 87’), Shane O’Neill (Youcef Bel­hout 87’). Subs not used: Thomas Wy­ley, Stephen Law­less.

UCD: Ger­ard Bar­ron, Garett Matthews, Michael Leahy, Em­mett McAr­dle, Brian Con­naughton, Joe Holt, Colm Daly, Michael Kelly, Evan Con­nolly, Conor Mee­han, John Dal­ton. Subs: Jeff O’Flynn, Mark Con­don, Paul Leahy, Gavin Fal­conor, Conal Walsh.

Shane O'Neill's strike is blocked by UCD goal­keeper Ger­ard Bar­ron.

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