Brennan 22

K Byrne 46

Marks s/o 92+


Carlisle Grounds
05 May 2017

It may have felt like two points dropped - and that is likely to be Harry Kenny's private thought - but nevertheless, Bray still have an enviable record this season.

St Patricks' Kurtis Byrne struck with a fine shot that beat Peter Cherrie less than a minute after the restart to cancel out Ryan Brennan's lead goal, scored for the home side midway through the first half.

The irony is that a mere draw, combined with other results, propelled the Seagulls above three-in-a-row champion to second, their highest mid-season ranking ever.

But the loss of Jason Marks to a second caution, together with a brace of other cautions deep in time added, are indications that discipline could still be a problem, and Marks's absence will mean a still unsettled back four for another week at least.

The home side dominated proceedings throughout the opening 45 minutes, and must have wondered how they only led by a single goal at the break.

Dylan Connolly and Aaron Greene combined to give them the first sight of goal with less than five minutes gone, a one-two with the winger unusually driving forward through the centre after spreading for the striker, who returned the ball for a glancing header that fell narrowly outside the far post.

Minutes later the same pair threatened again, but this time Greene's pass was a little short, and the defence cut it out. As if to compensate, he tried a solo effort, but hesitated and was blocked by Lee Desmond.

Barely eleven minutes in, a further Bray attack came closer still. Keith Buckley burst out of defence to feed Gary McCabe, who turned his marker and back-heeled for Brennan, but he couldn't keep his shot on target.

From a free dummied by Greene, McCabe then fed to the far side, and Marks tried to find support in the area, but his cross flew harmlessly past the far post.

Another McCabe free was skied before he was tackled late by Rory Feely, and it was the next free that resulted in the opening score. Headed back, it only reached Buckley who in turn found Brennan with a pinpoint cross and when Pats keep[er Conor O'Malley came to claim, the Bray midfielder flicked it past him with his head.

In all this, practically the only attack by the visitors came from Darragh Markey, but his solo run ended with a cross that proved no trouble for Cherrie.

Out of nowhere, seconds into the second half, Kurtis Byrne found himself in possession when McCabe lost control, and only 20m from goal. He unleashed an unstoppable strike that flew past the Bray keeper into the top corner.

Shortly afterwards, the Seagulls missed a golden opportunity to retake the lead, Connolly raced up the left and slid the ball across to Greene, who was unmarked and also, it appeared, unready, for he smashed the sitter wide from all of 12m.

Ten minutes in, John Sullivan came close with a downward header from Buckley's cross, and Greene was off target once again on the hour after Cherrie was all but caught napping for a Buckley backpass with Christy Fagan closing in.

Shortly after that, an Ian Bermingham corner reached the lively Desmond, but having lost his man he also lost the ball, lofting it over the bar.

Bray were living just a little dangerously, and with under twenty minutes left they were scrambling to clear a close Pats attack.

But though Desmond had another header over the target just after that, there was little hint of any further goals in the play until the dying minutes, when Kurtis Byrne made his way down the right after beating the offside trap and squared for substitute Billy Dennehy, but before he could tap it across the line, Buckley managed to reach it with a well-judged sliding tackle.

Controversy marred the end of the encounter, with three cards issued to Bray players inside a minute, Marks receiving a second for a foul on Dennehy following his booking just inside the hour for a foul on Conan Byrne.

Compiled by Mícheál Ó hUanacháin

Bray Wanderers: 1 Peter Cherrie; 6 Keith Buckley, 21 Tim Clancy , 4 Conor Kenna (c), 23 Jason Marks +=; 8 Mark Salmon , 3 John Sullivan; 7 Ryan Brennan , 11 Gary McCabe , 16 Dylan Connolly ; 9 Aaron Greene
Subs: 5 Derek Foran, 10 Karl Moore, 14 Jamie Aherne, 17 Gerald Pender, 20 Anthony Flood (for Brennan 72), 22 Darragh Noone, 93 Lee Steacy (gk)
St Patricks Athletic: 1 Conor O'Malley; 2 Michael Barker, 13 Rory Feely , 12 Lee Desmond, 3 Ian Bermingham; 10 Sam Verdon, 6 Patrick Cregg ; 7 Conan Byrne, 14 Darragh Markey, 18 Kurtis Byrne ; 9 Christy Fagan
Subs: 8 Graham Kelly (for Markey 88), 15 Jack Bayly, 16 Barry Murphy (gk), 20 Billy Dennehy (for Fagan 73), 23 Alex O'Hanlon (for Byrne 83), 26 Josh O'Hanlon
Referee: Ben Connolly

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