Greene 3

McGuigan 22

Connolly 20

Gallagher s/o 63


Carlisle Grounds
13 Mar 2017

Bray's League matches so far this season have been guaranteed to keep spectators on the edge of their seats, and tonight's was no different.

Goals at both ends, cards of different colours, and a stressful final few minutes for the home faithful, despite the team's numerical advantage.

And most critically, another three points to cement a strong start to the new season.

Aaron Greene opened the scoring inside the opening five minutes, with Dylan Connolly striking a quarter of an hour later.

But Pete Mahon's Drogheda would not lie down, and Ciarán McGuigan hauled one back almost immediately following Bray's second.

Their task became much harder shortly after the hour mark when they lost former Bray man Luke Gallagher to a second caution, but despite a corner count of 7-3 in their favour, Bray didn't manage to increase their advantage.

The home side had a bit of a scare in the opening minutes, when Ryan Robinson, deputising for Hugh Douglas, challenged a little too heartily, and was warned, but not carded.

The next fright was a little more substantial, however, when Peter Cherrie could only parry a Gareth McCaffrey free, and the waiting Jake Hyland looked to have beaten him - but skipper Conor McKenna was just in time to scoop it off the line.

All was restored by Greene's second Bray goal just minutes later, when he cut in from the left after Gary McCabe made the running to release a daisycutter that former Bray netminder Stephen McGuinness couldn't get down quick enough for.

And it was almost two a couple of moments after that when Kevin Lynch's flag-kick reached the lurking John Sullivan, but too quick for him to compose a shot.

Connolly, too, nearly got on the scoresheet earlier than was to come when a Colm Deasy clearance fell short and invited a go, but the Bray winger lifted it too high.

Next Greene was in action again, hooking a volley on a high Keith Buckley feed, but Anto Flood couldn't give his header enough direction.

Now Connolly made it two when another short clearance gave Greene the opportunity to feed in the direction of Connolly's run, and with McGuinness rushing out the Bray man slipped past Deasy and simply lifted the ball over the keeper.

But the visitors' response was swift and accurate, rushing down field to win a corner, Marc Griffin finding defender McGuigan with the set-piece and the centre-half pushing past Flood to meet it and shoot into the top corner.

Bray had the right reaction to that, as shown by a string of corners as they searched for the restoration of the two-goal cushion, but it wasn't coming, though McGuinness had to be lively to clear a Lynch corner with ten minutes left to the break.

And Drogheda finished strongly with half-chances for Ryan McEvoy, Gallagher and Seán Brennan.

After a good early run by Greene, whose cross narrowly missed Flood in a scoring position, the opening phases of the second half featured another string of Bray corners, but efforts by Kenna and Flood were deflected off target.

Just on the hour, Marc Griffin and McCaffrey both had chances for the visitors, but only the second needed attention by Cherrie.

Then the Boynesiders' uphill task became a lot steeper when Gallagher made a second irregular challenge on Connolly, suffering the consequence of a second caution and dismissal.

Greene came close to the insurance goal with just ovet twenty minutes to go, when the ball broke to him close to the Drogheda goal, but McGuigan showed skill and determination at his "day job" of defending.

An equaliser seemed briefly on the cards when a corner on the right found Thomas Byrne at the near post, requiring good reflexes from Cherrie to clear.

On the edge of time added, Connolly came close to a Bray third, but McGuinness's stretch frustrated his attempt to round him.

It was not exactly what one would call a comfortable win, but three points in the bag is a reasonable day at the office - even if the attendance was especially dire.

Compiled by Mícheál Ó hUanacháin

Bray Wanderers: 1 Peter Cherrie; 24 Ryan Robinson, 5 Derek Foran , 4 Conor Kenna (c) , 19 Kevin Lynch; 6 Keith Buckley, 5 John Sullivan; 16 Dylan Connolly , 11 Gary McCabe, 9 Aaron Greene ; 20 Anthony Flood
Subs: 7 Ryan Brennan (for McCabe 78), 8 Mark Salmon (for Buckley 67), 12 Conor Earley (for Robinson 63), 14 Jamie Aherne, 21 Tim Clancy, 22 Darragh Noone, 93 Lee Steacy (gk)
Drogheda United: 1 Stephen McGuinness; 2 Colm Deasy, 12 Luke Gallagher (c) +=, 15 Ciaran McGuigan , 18 Conor Kane; 16 Gareth McCaffrey, 7 Jake Hyland, 9 Seán Brennan, 27 Ryan McEvoy, 14 Adam Wixted; 7 Marc Griffin
Subs: 3 Stephen Dunne, 5 Lloyd Buckley (for Wixted 64), 10 Seán Thornton (for Brennan 74), 17 Thomas Byrne (for McCaffrey 71), 21 Jamie Hollywood, 23 Dylan Sweeney (gk), 28 Shane Elworthy
Referee: Neil Doyle

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