Wan­der­ers fall at the first hur­dle against Drogheda United

Bray People - - SPORT -

THE VERY first hur­dle proved to be Bray Wan­der­ers' down­fall as they limped out of the EA Sports Cup on Mon­day night.

Pat Devlin's troops slumped to a 0-1 de­feat at the hands of the Premier Divi­sion's base­ment side Drogheda United at the Carlisle Grounds on Mon­day evening. Devlin made six changes to his start­ing 11 from Fri­day's pre­cious 0-1 vic­tory over UCD at the Belfield Bowl as the Bray man­ager made it clear where his fo­cus lies this sea­son.

New sign­ing Dar­ren Quigley was thrown straight into the squad but the Grey­stones man had to set­tle for a place on the bench, with Brian Kane the man get­ting the nod in goals.

And Kane will be dis­ap­pointed with his role in the only goal of the game, which ar­rived in the 61st minute.

Philip McDon­agh whipped in a cross that Kane

BRAY WAN­DER­ERS 0 DROGHEDA UNITED 1

came for and failed to claim. The ball then hit Seán Hous­ton and was trick­ling ag­o­niz­ingly to­wards the goal-line. But just as it looked like Hous­ton would clear, Seán Skelly squeezed in to scram­ble the ball into the empty net.

The game started at a brisk pace and Dan McGuin­ness launched the move that al­most pro­duced the opener. He made a clever in­ter­cep­tion on half way and tried to pick out Graham Kelly's surg­ing run through the mid­dle. The pass was blocked but man­aged to find its way to Jake Kelly on the left flank and the winger sent in a sen­sa­tional low cross that begged to be tapped in. An in-slid­ing Shane O'Neill was inches away from oblig­ing and it took a wild An­thony Costi­gan clear­ance to deny Dean Zam­bra the chance to do so as the num­ber seven ar­rived at the back post.

Costi­gan's clear­ance re­sulted in a cor­ner for Bray, and Ken­drick's de­liv­ery was helped out for an­other flag-kick. Dempsey took the set-piece this time but the Drogs de­fence didn't deal with it on this oc­ca­sion but Ken­drick sent his header back across the face of goal and wide.

Dempsey's dead ball ex­per­tise should have pro­vided the dead­lock breaker in the tenth minute. His peach of a cross from a free-kick was on a plate for Dane Massey but the stand-in cen­tre half di­rected his close-range header straight into the arms of Steven Trim­ble.

The ac­tion then died down dras­ti­cally for the re­main­der of the first pe­riod but Shane O'Neill did come close to snatch­ing an opener two min­utes prior to the half-time break.

Daire Doyle found McGuin­ness with a right wing throw in and the 18-year-old picked out his strike part­ner in the mid­dle but O'Neill's glanced header was caught by Trim­ble.

The sec­ond half started in an equally slug­gish fash­ion but then in the 61st minute United took the lead against the run of play.

The Seag­ulls al­most pegged them back im­me­di­ately when Gary Shaw - mak­ing his first ap­pear­ance of the sea­son af­ter break­ing his foot in Jan­uary - met Dempsey's cor­ner with a pow­er­ful header but it flew a cou­ple of yards over the cross­bar.

Pat Devlin's troops had an­other chance to draw them­selves level in the 73rd minute af­ter Hous­ton was chopped down on the left wing. Dempsey pinged in an­other top de­liv­ery and this time it was met by Massey, but the de­fender was stretch­ing and fell back as the ball made con­tact with his fore­head; loop­ing harm­lessly over as a re­sult.

Wan­der­ers con­tin­ued to camp in the Drogheda half and came close to gain­ing par­ity once more in the 83 d minute. Gary Dempsey's cor­ner was cleared back out to the mid­fielder and he shipped it to McGuin­ness who lofted in a teas­ing cross that Trim­ble got to mil­lisec­onds be­fore Shane O'Neill did. There was one fi­nal chance for the hosts when Nicky Byrne ven­tured for­ward for Dempsey's 92nd minute cor­ner and al­though the cen­tre half got a touch to it, he was un­able to get any real power be­hind it and it was a sim­ple gather for Drogs goal­keeper Steven Trim­ble.

Top Form: Dan McGuin­ness (Bray Wan­der­ers): Worked tire­lessly for the cause.

BRAY WAN­DER­ERS

1. Brian Kane, 2. Daire Doyle, 3. Joe Ken­drick (Booked), 4. Dave Web­ster (Booked), 5. Dane Massey, 6. Gary Dempsey, 7. Dean Zam­bra, 8. Graham Kelly (Booked), 9. Dan McGuin­ness, 10. Shane O'Neill (Booked), 11. Jake Kelly. SUBS: Gary Shaw for Doyle (45); Sean Hous­ton for Ken­drick (56); Nicky Byrne for Shaw (79). Not used: Dar­ren Quigley, Adam Mitchell, Stephen Last, Sean Plun­kett.

DROGHEDA UNITED

1. Steven Trim­ble, 2. Stephen Quigley, 3. An­thony Costi­gan, 4. Robert Ko­vac­se­vics, 5. Vic­tor Ekanem, 6. Mark Nolan (Booked), 7. Stephen McCrossan, 8. Jack Flynn (Booked), 9. Sean Skelly, 10. Daragh Hana­phy, 11. Philip McDon­agh. SUBS: David Free­man for Skelly (73); Daniel Cor­co­ran for Hana­phy (85). VENUE: Carlisle Grounds, Bray. REF­EREE: Damian Han­cock (Dublin).

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