Benson 2, 26

McEleney 63


Carlisle Grounds
30 Jun 2017

To concede a goal in the opening two minutes has been a relatively rare experience for Bray recently, but it happened again last night.

Robbie Benson was at the end of a quick Dundalk counter-attack to fire home before the game had really settled down.

And less than half an hour later, Benson provided the finishing after good work by Jamie McGrath in particular.

Bray, in fact, were a trifle lucky to make their way to the break without a further goal against them.

Putting the final touch to a poor evening for the home side, Pat McEleney lobbed home the third as Mark Salmon lay injured on the half-way line.

The Lilywhites ended with just ten men, but not for disciplinary reasons, as McEleney left the pitch two minutes before the end with all substitutions already made.

Things had looked a little promising directly after kick-off, Kevin Lynch's left-side free winning a corner, but it was the counter-attack at a furious pace from that same Lynch flag-kick that made a sweeping move forward with McEleney putting the ball through for the offside Benson to round Peter Cherrie and strike.

After Sean Gannon had fired a hopeful ball well left of target the game seemed to settle down. Dundalk were displaying an impressive reaction speed, time after time turning on a dime to claim a Bray ball forward that had, as often as not, no-one at the end of it.

Just after the quarter hour, though, Bray might have levelled matters when a Gary NcCabe corner was headed very narrowly over by Anto Flood.

And if schadenfreude is a sin there were many Bray fans guilty of it when the Lilywhites' skipper, Stephen O'Donnell, limped off after receiving a knock.

His replacement, former Seagull Chris Shields, would knock the smile off their faces for long spells thereafter.

Shortly after that, however, Niclas Vemmelund volleyed well off target with little time to direct, or even to get a decent purchase on the ball.

McCabe then hit the side netting from a free deep in the Dundalk corner, but within seconds Jamie McGrath came from the left to feed inside where Benson played one-two off David McMillan before looping the ball past Cherrie.

It was a second hammer-blow, and one from which the home side would not recover.

And a third might have followed within minutes, with McGrath and McEleney pressing hard, had a free out not rescued the Bray defence.

Another opportunity for Wanderers came shortly after the half hour, when a brace of fouls, for the second of which McGrath was cautioned, led to a free from which Mark Salmon's effort was barely blocked by Gary Rogers and then headed away by another of Dundalk's Bray past-pupils, Dane Massey.

From the corner, Hugh Douglas headed just over.

In the final minutes of the half, McMilland had a shot way too high and Benson's long-range free also sailed over, but Rogers's high leap for a Bray free over the back of Vemmelund left the centreback lying on the ground.

The second periopd didn't start at the same frantic pace, and Bray had another flag-kick ten minutes in from which Rogers claimed the high header easily, and eight minutes later McEleney played a little magic tricking his way across the pitch, sliding past three Bray players before launching a fine strike to put the game past any prospect of recovery for the Seagulls.

Mark Salmon had a fall in the process of that movement, and had to be substituted shortly afterwards, Ger Pender also coming in for Flood, but the substitute had few enough chances to display his skill.

But Ryan Brennan had a go just inside the final quarter hour, and Lynch tried to find Pender a couple of minutes later only for Rogers to fall on the ball.

With ten minutes left, Benson almost reached a nice John Mountney cross for his hat-trick, but he failed to direct the header properly.

The visitors had a couple of corners in the final minutes, Cherrie producing a fine long punch for the second, and both Douglas and McEleney were showing they had been in a contest, the latter leaving the pitch before the final whistle with all substitutes already used.

But the night belonged to the Lilywhites, and ought to have been a good preparation for them as they start their travels, taking Bray winger Dylan Connolly with them.

Mícheál Ó hUanacháin

Bray Wanderers: 1 Peter Cherrie; 6 Keith Buckley, 4 Conor Kenna (c), 2 Hugh Douglas, 19 Kevin Lynch; 8 Mark Salmon, 3 John Sullivan; 9 Aaron Greene, 7 Ryan Brennan , 11 Gary McCabe; 20 Anthony Flood
Subs: 12 Conor Earley, 14 Jamie Aherne, 15 Alan Kehoe, 17 Gerald Pender (for Flood 63), 22 Darragh Noone (for Salmon 63 inj), 23 Jason Marks (for McCabe 80), 93 Lee Steacy (gk)
Dundalk: 1 Gary Rogers; 2 Sean Gannon, 3 Brian Gartland, 19 Niclas Vemmelund, 14 Dane Massey; 7 Michael Duffy, 6 Stephen O'Donnell (c), 18 Robbie Benson , 10 Jamie McGrath ; 11 Patrick McEleney ; 9 David McMillan
Subs: 4 Paddy Barrett, 5 Chris Shields (for O'Donnell 20 inj), 8 John Mountney (for McGrath 57), 15 Sean Hoare, 16 Ciaran Kilduff (for Macmillan 80), 22 Gabriel Sava (gk), 26 Thomas Stewart
Referee: Rob Rogers

Back to the topContact us