Late huffing and puffing not enough
BRAY WANDERERS FINN HARPS 2 3
SOME late huffing and puffing failed to hide a hideously disjointed performance for Bray Wanderers as Finn Harps raided three points from the Carlisle Grounds.
The Seagulls, who had beaten Harps home and away earlier this season, trailed 0-2 at the break and were then reduced to 10 men in the second period. Despite this, they twice rallied and threatened equalisers before succumbing to a 2-3 defeat.
Harry Kenny made three changes to his starting line-up. Karl Moore, Darragh Noone and Anto Flood replaced Kevin Lynch, John Sullivan and Jason Marks respectively. Friday’s match marked Peter Cherrie’s 73rd consecutive league appearance – equalling a club record – but he won’t be breaking it following his dismissal.
Kilian Cantwell was almost the unlikely source of the opener after six minutes. Ethan Boyle hurled over a throw-in from the left and it wasn’t properly cleared. It fell to Cantwell and he acrobatically shot but it was too close to Cherrie.
It should have been 0-1 four minutes later. Sean Houston helped the ball over the Bray defence and Eddie Dsane was in the clear. He needed composure and a cool head but he lacked it as he lashed a volley over.
Chance number three arrived for the visitors on 17 minutes. Timlin whipped in a corner from the right. Boyle had to stretch to meet it and as a result struggled to generate sufficient power but nevertheless it was aimed straight at the Scottish shot-stopper.
Dsane may have been wasteful earlier but he was anything but in the 24th minute. Paddy McCourt’s magic set up the chance as he danced a delightful dance down the left flank before releasing a defence-splitting pass. Dsane made no mistake as he drilled home.
It should have been 1-1 in the 36th minute. Wanderers showed that they still had a pulse as McCabe sprayed a pass out right for Brennan. He bamboozled his man and danced inside before squaring for Anto Flood. With Ciaran Gallagher cut out by Brennan’s pass, Flood simply had to touch it in from six yards. He offered a flailing leg but it was somehow kept out by Nathan Boyle in spectacular fashion.
Conal McAleer is a very tricky customer and he almost doubled the visitors’ lead when he pounced on a loose ball. His pace took him clear and he rode Clancy’s attempt to take him down but fired his strike across the face of the goal and wide.
Going in 0-1 down at the break wouldn’t have been a crisis for Bray considering the way the math had panned out but 0-2 was a different story. Conor Kenna was harshly penalise for a handball from extremely close range and Bray’s defensive wall generously parted to allow debutant Mark Timlin to make a good impression as he squeezed it through the sizeable gap.
Wanderers had two penalty shouts early in the second half and both should have been given.
Brennan was involved in the first one as he looked to retrieve Buckley’s deep cross but couldn’t having been bundled over clumsily from behind by Harps goalkeeper Ciaran Gallagher.
For the second, Tim Clancy and Houston were enjoying a wrestling match as Noone delivered a free and Clancy hit the deck. Several Bray players charged at Anthony Buttimer but their pleas fell on deaf ears.
The official further endeared himself to the home side when dismissing Cherrie on 63 minutes. The Scot was equalling a club record for consecutive league appearances but he won’t be breaking it after sending Dsane tumbling after the striker had rounded him.
Salmon had a chance to reduce the arrears when Greene’s free found him but the midfielder was facing away from goal so his blind, flicked effort landed in Gallagher’s gloves.
Greene gave Bray a lifeline on 70 minutes. Moore sent a raking pass to the right flank which Col failed to intercept.
This allowed Buckley to take his time and pick out Greene who tapped home.
Brennan almost levelled as his stunning volley was matched by Gallagher’s excellent fingertip which earned Bray another corner.
It looked like Wanderers were dead in the water with three minutes to spare as Ibrahim Keita glanced home Nathan Boyle’s cross for his first Harps goal, less than 60 seconds after being sprung from the bench.
The fat lady didn’t begin her ensemble just yet though as a partially cleared corner was venomously thumped home by Brennan but the 10 men’s battling efforts fell short.
Scorers - Bray Wanderers 2 (Greene 70, Brennan 87), Finn Harps 3 (Dsane 24, Timlin 45, Keita 84):
Bray Wanderers: 1. Peter Cherrie; 6. Keith Buckley, 2. Hugh Douglas, 5. Conor Kenna, 10. Karl Moore; 22. Darragh Noone, 8. Mark Salmon; 7. Ryan Brennan, 11. Gary McCabe, 9. Aaron Greene; 20. Anto Flood. Subs: Tim Clancy for Douglas (31); Jason Marks for McCabe (H/T); Lee Steacy for Flood (64). Not used:
Aaron Greene and Paddy McCourt in action in the Carlisle Grounds last Friday.