St. Pat’s hit Seagulls for three at the Carlisle
St. Pat’s take points as Wanderers ponder possibilities
ST. PATRICK’S Athletic eventually showed their class to get back on the winning track and see off Bray Wanderers.
A Christy Fagan header on the stroke of half time put a massive dent in the Seagulls’ plans and the Saints increased injury-hit Wanderers’ woes with their second goal of the evening six minutes into the second period.
Despite struggling to mount any threatening attacks, the hosts did shake things up when David Cassidy slammed home from a set-piece routine with nine minutes to play.
Cassidy then went within a whisker of levelling the tie for Bray when his free kick drifted past Brendan Clarke’s post by the narrowest of margins.
Wanderers were unable to snatch a share of the spoils though as Chris Forrester drilled home in stoppage time to put the matter to bed.
Perhaps the outcome would have been different had Mathews been able to call upon the services of Danny O’Connor, Shane O’Connor, Eric McGill, Adam Hanlon, Jake Kelly or Shane Redmond. The latter was suspended, while the five outfielders were ruled out by injury.
This forced Mathews into naming U-19 stars Michael Brown and Sean Hurley on the bench, while Pat’s manager Liam Buckley had the likes of Forrester and Mark Quigley sitting alongside him in the dugout, ready for action if they were needed. Quite the contrast.
Redmond’s replacement Stephen McGuinness was first called into action in the ninth minute. James Chambers fired in a shot from 25 yards and the shot-stopper parried it. Fagan picked up the rebound but he was offside and Bray survived.
Dave Scully then got the better of Ian Bermingham on the right of the penalty area and his wicked low drive flashed dangerously across Clarke’s goal.
Scully had another chance to beat Clarke in the 23rd minute. Graham Kelly stood behind Bray’s third successive corner kick and this time he found a Bray man with his delivery. Scully lunged forward to meet the cross but his header was wide as well.
Bray captain David Webster kept the league champions at bay soon afterwards. The instrumental Keith Fahey – who constantly had Shane Byrne on his tail – found Lee Lynch but his attempt to tee-up Fagan were cut out by Webster who forced the ball behind.
The attention Byrne was giving to Fahey is normally preceded by a nice dinner and some drinks but Mathews’ plan did limit the Republic of Ireland international’s threat.
Pat’s winger Daryl Kavanagh was next to try and break the deadlock. He tried to sneakily bend the ball through defenders and catch McGuinness out but the Wanderers custodian seemed in control as he watched it curl wide.
Within three minutes McGuinness was beaten. Conan Byrne found a pocket of space on the right flank and whipped in. Fagan rose and hung in the air to head the ball back in the direction it came from and into the corner of the net.
Chris Forrester was a halftime replacement for the visitors and he bagged an assist six minutes after coming on, sliding a pass through the Bray defence that allowed Lynch to poke the ball past McGuinness. The 19-year old got back to his feet and stared at his defence in disgust.
Dean Zambra gave his goalkeeper a helping hand, literally some might say, when he blocked Chambers’ swerving volley on the line. Pat’s wanted a handball, but Bray wanted to play on and find a route back into the match, something that they achieved in the 81st minute.
Shane Byrne made a burst to intercept a ball and after ignoring Akinade and Cassidy’s runs to his left, his 25-yarder was blocked behind for a corner kick.
Graham Kelly delivered the cross, a driven cross aimed towards the penalty spot and Cassidy caught it superbly to send the ball flying to the net.
This cranked up the volume at the Carlisle Grounds and Akinade won a free kick on the edge of the area after forcing Sean Hoare into tugging him down.
Cassidy has magic in his boots but his wand’s aim was ever so slightly off from the free kick and Pat’s killed off Wanderers in the 92 nd minute when Fagan unselfishly laid off to Forrester inside the area and his sweet strike didn’t give McGuinness much chance.
Kenny Browne and Bray’s Ismahil Akinade compete for possession during the Monday night clash at the Carlisle Grounds.