SCULLY AND O’NEILL DO THE BUSINESS
Second half strikes seal victory for Mathews’ men against Drogheda
A PAIR of pseudo wingers gave Bray Wanderers a treble of vital points at Hunky Dorys Park on Friday evening.
Strikers Dave Scully and Shane O’Neill found themselves deployed on the flanks against Drogheda United but the attackers shell-shocked the previously unbeaten Drogs with goals within four minutes of each other early in the second half.
With March Player of the Month Gary O’Neill and Premier Division top scorer Declan “Fabio” O’Brien making up the United strikeforce, injury ravaged Bray were up against it on Friday.
Shane Byrne joined the walking wounded in the treatment room; making it seven players that were unavailable to Alan Mathews.
O’Neill was the man given his opportunity as he was drafted in to replace Byrne, meaning a positional switch for David Cassidy who shifted inside to support Ismahil Akinade.
Cassidy seemed to relish his free role, and he fired in the first shot after eight minutes. The ball was thrust forward by the Bray defence but was headed clear by a Drogheda head. However, Cassidy returned it with interest and his thumping effort blasted off the advertising hoardings behind the goal.
Cassidy was full of praise for goalkeeper Stephen McGuinness following the 1-3 defeat against St. Patrick’s Athletic, and the Kilcoole youngster added to his growing reputation as he tipped Eric Foley’s 10 th minute free kick around the post.
An electric start by Wanderers saw Drogs frontman O’Neill begin dropping into midfield to impact the game but Mathews was quick to spot this and Dean Zambra was instructed to pick up the roving attacker.
United winger Carl Walshe then tried to make something happen for the home side as he deserted his right flank – cutting inside and letting fly. The ball fizzed narrowly over but nonetheless, McGuinness appeared to have it covered.
An attack down the left was Drogheda’s next source of danger. There was a scramble in the Bray penalty area, Wanderers managed to force Drogheda away from goal but Daire Doyle still got a shot in; a shot that flew into the Co. Lough night sky.
Mathews’ men soon sparked back into life. Graham Kelly threaded a pass through to Cassidy and O’Neill, who had both beaten the offside trap. Cassidy let it roll through for O’Neill but his left-footed drive was blocked behind by Michael Daly.
An attack down the right from Scully and Akinade so nearly produced a goal for Scully. He surged forward and played a close-control one-two with Akinade on the edge of the area. His strike was powerful but too near to David Ryan, who palmed the ball out of harm’s way.
McGuinness was nearly called into action on 35 minutes as Daly’s throw-in from the right was flicked on at the near post by Gary O’Neill but the ball evaded everyone as it whispered across the goal-line and beyond the far stick.
Cassidy had another chance to show off his longrange shooting just shy of half time as Kelly’s corner kick was knocked out to the edge of the area where it was met by an excellent volley from Cassidy. This time he hit the target but Ryan ensured it would be scoreless at the break as his dive to his left covered the shot.
An error at the back presented Cassidy with his next opportunity. With Ryan off his line, a slip saw the ball find its way to the midfielder’s feet but his lob had too much on it and Ryan watched gratefully as it sailed over his crossbar.
Four minutes later the satisfactory smile was wiped from the shot-stopper’s face. Kelly delivered a corner from the right, Ryan made a hash of his interception and in the ensuing scramble, Scully hooked an effort past the covering defender on the line for his second goal for the Seagulls.
And the visitors kicked Drogheda United when they were down as they doubled their lead within four minutes. David Webster defended a dangerous situation for Wanderers, it was worked to Cas- sidy in the centre circle, he turned and his brilliant pass dared O’Neill to show his pace. He did so, outstripping his marker and racing to the penalty area. He then cut inside his man again for good measure before slamming an outstanding shot into the top corner. Ryan didn’t even move.
O’Neill was then denied a second by Ryan before Kelly and Cassidy worked a corner routine that saw the latter flick an effort just wide of the near post.
Akinade slipped Cassidy in on 72 minutes and he in turn fired a cross across goal which was met by O’Neill but the effort was blazed over the bar.
With 10 minutes remaining, Akinade had the chance to register his first goal of the season and get an insurance strike for Wanderers. A defender gifted him possession and he had all the time in the world to pick his spot, but his eventual strike was far too close to Ryan.
Three goals may have eluded Bray Wanderers but three points did not. Next up for the Seagulls is Derry City at the Carlisle Grounds this Friday. Kickoff is 5pm.
Top Form: David Cassidy (Bray Wanderers): Former club Drogheda United will be glad to see the back of him.
BRAY WANDERERS (4-4-1-1)
32. Stephen McGuinness; 12. Niall Cooney, 2. David Webster, 5. Adam Mitchell, 22. Rob Maloney; 19. Dave Scully, 16. Dean Zambra, 24. Graham Kelly, 7. Shane O’Neill; 8. David Cassidy; 9. Ismahil Akinade. SUBS: Gary Curran for Kelly (86); Michael Brown for O’Neill (90+5). Not used: Gavin Sheridan, Jamie McGlynn, Philip Nolan, Sean Hurley, Ciaran Byrne.
DROGHEDA UNITED (4-4-2)
1. David Ryan; 2. Michael Daly, 12. Ciaran McGuigan, 5. Alan McNally, 3. Shane Grimes; 14. Carl Walshe, 22. Eric Foley, 18. Daire Doyle, 11. Gavin Brennan; 10. Gary O’Neill, 19. Declan O’Brien. SUBS: Stephen Maher for Doyle (60); Gavin Holohan for Foley (70); Philly Hughes for O’Neill (76). Not used: Dylan Connolly, Paul Andrews, Paul Crowley, Cathal Brady. VENUE: Hunky dorys Park, Louth
REFEREE: Paul Tuite (Dublin)
Bray’s Shane O’Neill scores his side’s second goal in the clash against Drogheda United.
Bray’s Dave Scully is mobbed by teammates after he gave the Bray men the lead.
Bray’s Dean Zambra controls a tricky ball.