Seag­ulls come from be­hind to snatch draw

Wicklow People (West Edition) - - SPORT - DANIEL GOR­MAN at the Carlisle Grounds

THE fun­fair may no longer be present on Bray beach but there was a roller­coaster on dis­play in the Carlisle Grounds on Fri­day evening as Bray Wan­der­ers came from be­hind thrice to sal­vage a point against Cobh Ram­blers.

With Cabo suf­fer­ing a shock de­feat to Gal­way, it means Bray have closed the gap to four points but they may live to rue not pick­ing away Ram­blers on Fri­day.

Cobh lead at half-time thanks to Cian Leonard’s penalty but Joe Doyle replied on 46 min­utes.

A Stephen O’Leary header re­stored Cobh’s lead only for Dean Wil­liams to again find an equaliser for Bray.

Within 30 sec­onds though, Cobh hit the front cour­tesy of a stun­ning O’Leary strike but a Hugh Dou­glas header in stop­page time proved to be the fi­nal act in this drama.

As was prob­a­bly to ex­pected, it had all the hall­marks of a noth­ingto-play for end of sea­son can­ter in the early stages.

Gal­way tak­ing an early lead in Strad­brook raised eye­brows more so than ex­pec­ta­tions; es­pe­cially when Cobh hit the front af­ter 32 min­utes when Hugh Dou­glas failed to heed the ref­eree’s warn­ing. As the Cobh cor­ner taker awaited his chance to de­liver, ref­eree Alan Carey halted play to warn Dou­glas and his marker to cut out the grap­pling. The cor­ner was de­liv­ered mo­ments later and – with Dou­glas re­turn­ing for round two – Carey awarded a spot-kick and booked the Bray na­tive to boot.

Cian Leonard sent Sava the wrong way from the spot.

There had been very, very lit­tle en­ter­tain­ment prior to the opener. Dou­glas had hung in the air for a mil­len­nium to meet a Paul Kee­gan free but his header looped over.

Dean Wil­liams opted to hur­dle an out­stretched leg in the penalty area and the move pe­tered out; had he gone to ground Carey would have had a dif­fi­cult de­ci­sion to make as they was def­i­nitely con­tact.

On 18 min­utes, McGlade in­jected a bit of life into the tie with a clever pass to re­lease John Martin. He charged for­ward and had – of all peo­ple – Hugh Dou­glas plough­ing through the mid­dle along­side him. Martin opted to slide it to Wil­liams in­stead and the at­tacker struck the ground as he shot and Hunt was able to turn it be­hind.

Bran­don McCann nearly grabbed his sec­ond goal as a Seag­ull as he su­perbly met Joe Doyle’s cross from the right.

He had Hunt beaten all ends up but it flew past the shot-stop­per’s near post.

McGlade was then re­leased down the left chan­nel and Hunt – with a de­fender in tow – raced out to nar­row the an­gles.

McGlade man­aged to jink past them but took the ball too wide in the process and his even­tual cross found Wil­liams but his shot was blocked be­hind.

Leonard’s spot-kick nudged Cobh ahead on 32 and by the 38th minute, Cobh had a glo­ri­ous chance to dou­ble their ad­van­tage.

Stephen O’Leary did bril­liantly to worm his way into the box and shield the ball from his marker be­fore striking at goal. Sava par­ried the ball di­rectly out in front of him­self and it fell for Leonard who looked des­tined to score but Sean Heaney; some­how – an­swers on a post­card please – leapt into the night sky and bi­cy­cle kicked it away from un­der the cross­bar.

Bray al­most got a very large rub of the green when Joe Doyle harm­lessly floated a cross into the area. It looked like bread-and-but­ter stuff for Hunt but it slipped through his fin­gers and he re­cov­ered in the nick of time to stop it rolling over the line with Wil­liams also set to pounce.

Per­haps the Bray play­ers were made aware of the Cabin­teely-Gal­way score at the in­ter­val be­cause they’d lev­elled be­fore a minute of the sec­ond pe­riod had elapsed.

McGlade’s heavy touch seemed to end the at­tack for Bray but they quickly won it back and McGlade got into the box and squirmed it across to Kee­gan but he let it run for Doyle who thumped it hard and low past Hunt.

McGlade then twisted and turned his way into the box and de­liv­ered a low cross to Wil­liams but the Sham­rock Rovers man didn’t open up his body and side-footed wide.

Cobh re­took the lead shortly be­fore the hour mark when Greg Henry knocked over a cross from the right and wee Stephen O’Leary was left al­most com­pletely free to head home.

Wil­liams had a chance to draw Bray level on 74 from a Kee­gan cor­ner but a com­bi­na­tion of Hunt and the post kept it out.

Bray in­tro­duced 15-year old An­drew Mo­ran - the club’s youngest ever player - and his pass found Derek Daly, whose scuffed shot rolled into the path of Wil­liams who clev­erly dinked to the net.

But the cel­e­bra­tion mu­sic for Wil­liams’ goal had yet to fade away when Stephen O’Leary pierced Bray hopes with an out­stand­ing, dip­ping 25-yard half vol­ley that flew into the top cor­ner.

A crest­fallen Bray re­fused to throw in the towel though and Dou­glas, now op­er­at­ing as a striker, pow­ered home a header.

Joe Doyle of Bray Wan­der­ers tries to get past Kevin Tay­lor of Cobh Ram­blers.

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