Ryan Brennan 44

Richie O'Farrell 68

First Division

Tolka Park
20 Aug 2021

This was a result that will have satisfied neither manager: the opportunity to close the gap between Wanderers and the leaders lost by Bray, the chance of establishing clear water behind by Shelbourne.

A very late first half score taken neatly by former Seagull Ryan Brennan left the visitors unexpectedly in arrears at the break, and though they were the better team early in the second period, it took some time for them to respond.

But the response, a neatly worked combination by Bray midfielders Brandon Kavanagh and Richie O'Farrell saw the former carve out just enough room to put the ball past Brendan Clarke.

Both sides saw two points slipping down the drain, and worked hard to try to recover them, but failed.

All that said, both sides have positives to take from the encounter - Shels in particular making a quick recovery from their shock defeat in Galway, and the end of their long unbeaten run.

The game could have opened with disaster for the Seagulls when Michael O'Connor was free at the far post for Brennan's cross but inexplicably found the side rather than the centre netting.

Joe Doyle and Kavanagh both fell foul of the offside flag as the visitors tried to establish an attacking pattern, but to little effect initially at least.

The Reds were denied a corner kick when a crossfield ball intended for Shane Farrell nicked Dylan Barnett on its way out, and in the ensuing play Darren Craven tried his luck but shot high and wide, recovering to feed Callum Thompson at the end of a one-two, but with the same result.

Seventeen minutes in, a Michael O'Connor effort was heavily deflected, but the flag-kick was well defended, while a minute later the same player went down in the Bray area to claims of a penalty by his colleagues, but not the referee.

Shelbouyrne continued to press, earning corner after corner (including one which was delayed while a replacement corner flag was procured) but failing to convert them with Daniel Jones and Brian Maher kept busy, a fine stop by the latter on an O'Connor shot following a feed by former Seagull John Ross Wilson being notable.

It was the final minute of the regular first half 45 when good work by Dayle Rooney was followed by a Farrell dummy move and a strike by another former Bray man, Brennan, left free by a slack defence, gave Maher no chance.

A last-ditch half-chance fell to Kavanagh before the break but, harried by Kameron Ledwidge, he miskicked and the ball trickled to the butt of Brendan Clarke's post.

A slow enough start to the second half was perhaps less understandable on the part of Bray, but the hour was almost upon them before Conor Clifford brought Rooney down to gift the home side a free in a dangerous position in front of goal. Brennan's deadball, however, came back off the Bray wall, and though O'Connor got possession and eventually a Shels corner, the visitors' defence held firm on this occasion.

Just over twenty minutes remained when Barnett fed the ball into the area where it was headed three times by Bray players before being crossed back from the right to O'Farrell, who slipped it to Kavanagh and peeled off to receive the return in space and volley straight past Clarke to the far corner.

Shelbourne were the more determined looking side in the remaining time, Maher claiming well from Wilson and O'Connor shooting very narrowly past the far post, while the Bray keeper needed some attention after punching away a long cross.

But it was Shelbourne sub Yassine En-Neyah who came clsoests to securing the three points for the home side in time added with, in rapid succession, a bicycle kick from the left and a fast run onto a ball from Rooney which Maher managed to get to first, well outside his area.

Mícheál Ó hUanacháin

Bray Wanderers: 1 Brian Maher; 15 Daniel Jones, 4 Andrew Quinn, 5 Aaron Barry (c), 3 Dylan Barnett ; 6 Conor Clifford ; 16 Darren Craven, 14 Richie O'Farrell , 11 Brandon Kavanagh; 27 Callum Thompson, 9 Joe Doyle
Subs: 7 Ryan Graydon (for Thompson 69), 8 Mark Byrne, 10 Gary Shaw (for Doyle 83), 17 Luka Lovic, 22 Steven Kinsella (for Kavanagh 87), 25 Kian Clarke (gk), 28 Sam Verdon
Shelbourne: 1 Brendan Clarke; 16 John Ross Wilson, 23 Luke Byrne (c), 4 Ally Gilchrist, 32 Kameron Ledwidge; 17 Shane Farrell , 18 Dayle Rooney, 26 George Poynton, 14 Brian McManus; 10 Ryan Brennan ; 9 Michael O'Connor
Subs: 2 Michael Barker, 3 Kevin O'Connor (for Ledwidge 75), 5 Yassine En-Neyah (for Brennan 75), 7 Eric Molloy, 19 Gavin Molloy, 11 Yousef Mahdy, 15 Maxim Kouogun, 25 Jack Brady (gk), 30 Alex Nolan
Referee: (announced as) Mark Moynihan

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