Bray Wanderers 1-3 Drogheda United

November 7, 2018

A stunning Eric Foley volley helped Drogheda United claim all three points against Bray Wanderers at the Carlisle Grounds on Friday night.

Tiarnán Mulvenna was the only casualty from last week’s sensational comeback against Dundalk, Sean Brennan taking his place on the left wing.

After a first half which Bray more or less dominated, the visitors stole the lead just a minute into the second with Foley’s thumping effort. Bray deservedly levelled through ex-Drog Dean Marshall on 69 before Declan O’Brien’s 73rd minute penalty restored Drogheda‘s lead. Kevin O’Connor’s sending off helped matters for the away side, before sub Jason Marks applied the icing to the cake with his goal on 81.

Under the Cosh

Not a cloud was to be seen on seaside as Friday’s contest got underway, and the sultry weather was outshone only by a bright start from the Seagulls.

A heavy burden rested on the shoulders of Bray target man John Mulroy due to Jason Byrne’s continued absence, but the striker showed early promise, as his ninth minute shot on target provided the home side’s first sight at goal.

With Mick Cooke’s charges pinned back into their own half for much of the opening exchanges, Bray continued to pepper Gabriel Sava’s goal with shots, Daire Doyle’s 25-yard drive skimming narrowly wide of the post on 14.

A minute later the Wanderers’ lack of clinical edge began to show as, with an abundance of time and space at his disposal, Mulroy could only dribble his shot harmlessly wide when better was expected.

Kieran Marty Waters’ diving header flew narrowly over the bar on 20, and the first moment of controversy arrived on 28.

Sean Brennan’s flick found Peter Hynes just inside the box, but his drilled effort was saved admirably by Quigley. However, the Bray custodian couldn’t prevent the ball from squirming loose, and just when it looked like Ryan Brennan would pounce to capitalise on the error, a scything challenge from Danny O’Connor brought the midfielder to the ground, but referee Rob Rogers was unmoved by cries for a penalty.

Fantastic Foley

The sides exchanged chances as the first half neared its conclusion. First, Doyle’s long range swerving effort on 41 had Sava beaten all ends up, only for the crossbar to come to the ‘keeper’s assistance, before Ryan Brennan, who had been played clear through, could only dribble an effort remiss of conviction towards Quigley four minutes later.

Despite all of Bray’s effort, their lack of killer instinct proved telling, and they were duly punished after the restart as Foley seized upon a rebounded header from Danny O’Connor to fire an immaculate 28 yard volley to the roof of the net on 46.

The Drogs were handed a reprieve on 49 as Philip Hand’s touch came back off the upright following a wicked Waters cross, and Sean Brennan nearly went one better than his teammate on 50 as his superlative 30 yard volley whizzed past Quigley’s left post.

Quigley was in imperious form for the home side, and twice denied Drogheda a second- first producing a fine reaction save from O’Brien’s shot, then later rushing out to thwart Sean Brennan as he bore down on goal- before Bray restored parity on 69.

Good work on the right wing from substitute Adam Hanlon saw him lay the ball off to Shane O’Connor, whose searching cross found Marshall lurking at the back post, and the winger made no mistake with his header to level matters.

Signed, Sealed, Delivered

Just when the Boynesiders thought they had a game on their hands, Hanlon’s rash diving challenge on Hand inside the box left the ref with no alternative but to point to the spot on 73. Having had to endure a tortuous wait before the all-important kick, ‘Fabio’ showed remarkable composure to blast his penalty to the left corner of the net as Quigley guessed the wrong direction.

Bray well and truly handed the initiative to their visitors on 79 as Kevin O’Connor’s foul on O’Brien was deemed worthy of a second yellow, the sending-off definitively stunting the Seagulls’ efforts to mobilise a more attack-minded approach.

Any doubts persisting about the outcome were laid to rest two minutes later as O’Brien, who was integral to almost every positive move in claret and blue on the night, rifled a long range free-kick towards goal which Quigley could only parry, and the Bray netminder was a helpless spectator as former Mons man Marks swept the loose ball home as his side further solidified its grasp on a top four finish at least.

Bray Wanderers

1. Darren Quigley
3. Dane Massey
5. Adam Mitchell
6. Danny O’Connor ©
7. Kevin O’Connor
8. Daire Doyle (Hanlon 67)
11. Kieran Marty Waters
16. Dean Zambra
18. John Mulroy (Akinade 82)
20. Sean Houston (Marshall 67)
26. Shane O’Connor
Subs not used:
Colm Tresson
Pat Seery
Brian Kane
Conor Earley

Drogheda United

1. Gabriel Sava
3. Philip Hand
4. Derek Prendergast
8. Ryan Brennan
10. Sean Brennan (Marks 74)
15. Peter Hynes (Brady 86)
16. Paul Crowley ©
17. Brian Gannon
19. Declan O’Brien
22. Eric Foley (Sullivan 67)
28. Alan Byrne
Subs not used:
Michael Schlingermann
Stephen Quigley
Tiarnán Mulvenna
Conor McMahon

Drogheda 12
Bray 13

Drogheda 2
Bray 3

Yellow cards:
Drogheda 3 (Declan O’Brien, Alan Byrne, Derek Prendergast)
Bray 1 (Kevin O’Connor)

Red cards:
Bray 1 (Kevin O’Connor)

Referee: Rob Rogers Man of the Match: Declan O’Brien