Murphy double helps Bray storm back to win
BRAY WANDERERS staged a stunning turnaround at Richmond Park on Friday night to collect their first win of the 2011 season in a pulsating encounter.
The Seagulls found themselves harshly trailing by two goals to nil in the 66th minute when Pat Devlin introduced Republic of Ireland U-19 international Conor Murphy for his debut. And the former Shamrock Rovers youngster made an immediate impression; bagging two goals within seven minutes to leave the scores level with 17 minutes left to play.
And Seagulls’ joy turned to jubilation in the 83rd minute when Joe Kendrick’s 22 yard freekick hit a player in the Pat’s defensive wall before flying past a flat-footed Gary Rogers.
Wanderers fell behind against the run of play in the 23rd minute. Derek Prendergast was penalized for a foul on David McMillan and Daryl Kavanagh’s teasing delivery was turned into his own net by Prendergast, whose evening was quickly becoming one to forget.
And Pat Devlin’s second half plans were torn up when the hosts doubled their lead three minutes after the restart after Evan McMillan headed home Kavanagh’s corner at the near post.
The last time the Wicklow club came from 2-0 behind to win was in October 2009. Cork City was the opponents on that occasion and a certain Mr. David Mulcahy bagged the equalizer and winner that night, but he was on the receiving end of the comeback this time.
With 20 minutes remaining, Joe Kendrick made a superb run in behind the Pat’s defence which Jake Kelly picked out. Kendrick whipped in a low cross that just evaded John Mulroy, but Murphy was on hand to force the ball home at the back post.
And it was all square three minutes later. Shane O’Neill bamboozled his man on the left flank before sending in a fantastic cross that Murphy expertly guided home with his glancing header.
The remarkable comeback was then completed in the 83rd minute when Kendrick’s free-kick deflected in off the Pat’s wall to spark delirious scenes amongst the travelling support.
It was a deserved victory for the Wicklow club, who outplayed the Saints throughout but St. Patrick’s Athletic almost went in front with three minutes on the clock but Derek Prendergast was on hand to clear Ian Daly’s effort off the line.
And from their on in – goal aside – Bray bossed the first half.
Minutes after Dean Zambra had seen his leftfooted effort saved by Gary Rogers, Joe Kendrick almost created an equalizer for the Seagulls when he made a clever overlapping run before whipping in a dangerous cross that Saints captain Connor Kenna just managed to scramble out for a corner kick with Chris Shields lurking behind him.
Wanderers’ left flank continued to cause problems for Pete Mahon’s men and in the 16th minute, a Jake Kelly cross was touched into John Mulroy’s path by Chris Shields and Mulroy’s low effort forced Rogers into a double save.
On 18 minutes Mulroy met a Kelly cross but his looping header cleared Rogers’ crossbar by a couple of yards and then two minutes later Jake Kelly found himself in some space on the left hand-side of the penalty area but his drive was bravely blocked by former Seagull Derek Pender.
But then, against the run of play, Pat’s took the lead. Derek Prendergast was adjudged to have barged David McMillan to the ground and a freekick awarded and Prendergast was subsequently booked. And the defender had the misfortune of turning the ball into his own net to break the deadlock.
There was very little goalmouth action for the remainder of the first period. Pat’s then made a dream start to the second half when McMillan met Kavanagh’s cross and forced the ball past John Mulroy who was covering on the near post.
But then Pat Devlin pulled a rabbit out of a hat when he threw on Murphy and O’Neill for Danny O’Connor and Dean Zambra, and the rest, as they say, is history.
Bray substitute Conor Murphy gets his head to the ball ahead of Evan McMillan of St. Patrick’s Athletic.
Daryl Kavanagh of St. Pat’s is chased by Dean Zambra of Bray Wanderers.