SCULLY AND O’NEILL DO THE BUSI­NESS

Sec­ond half strikes seal vic­tory for Mathews’ men against Drogheda

Bray People - - SPORT - DANIEL GOR­MAN At Hunky Do­rys Park

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.

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