Wilson Waweru 82

First Division

Eamonn Deacy Park
22 Oct 2021

Another disappointing performance by the Seagulls, on a night when the promotion contenders were the only First Division teams in action.

Victory for UCD over Treaty confirmed the four in their current positions, and only a defeat of the Limerick side next week would allow Bray to avoid facing two more games against tonight's opponents - if they in turn beat Wexford.

Despite several chances on both sides, there was little sign of a winner until the final ten minutes.

Galway captain Conor McCormack intercepted a loose ball by Joe Doyle in midfield intended for Conor Clifford and lofted it in behind Ryan Bowden and Aaron Barry, whom Wilson Waweru beat in the race.

It seemed to bounce just ahead of the Bray keeper who had rushed out to claim, and the Galway striker raced behind Brian Maher to slide the ball low into the open net.

It had been Waweru who had made the home side's first approach to the target, too, getting a nick on a cross from David Hurley, but not enough to get it past the Ireland Under-21 netminder.

A minute later, his counterpart was also in action, claiming a swivelling Joe Doyle ball that might have caused trouble, and when action returned to the other end Maher pushed away a low off-target effort from Ruairi Keating.

Referee Ray Matthews laid down the law to the players in the early stages, but his pep-talk failed to reduce the physicality of the match or avert five cautions during the encounter.

Maher had to tip away a Joe Gorman header from a Hurley corner, and Barry headed away the following flag-kick, but it took a triple block to evade what looked like a certain Galway score from McCormack's long-range free on the quarter hour, Maher stopping but not gathering Gorman's downward header, Barry getting his leg in the way of Waweru's follow-up and the latter's second attempt rebounding off a Bray shin.

An immediate counter-attack saw Ryan Graydon dispossess Alex Murphy and on receiving back from Doyle, get past the defender and shoot, but Gorman managed to put himself in the path of the ball.

Once more, a quick counter-attack found Keating in a position to strike, and his ball wasn't far right of target, and shortly afterwards a McCormack free was but a short tap to Hurley, who fired a curling effort that Maher had to get low to stop.

Doyle was close from a Steven Kinsella cross, and at the far end Maher was alert to claim a cross from the offside Waweru.

Soon after the half-way mark, a Keating shot from distance was deflected high and out off the back of Barry, and Hurley's set-piece failed to find a maroon jersey.

A Bray free less than 20m from target in an inviting position was lofted just over the bar by Graydon, and minutes after that Bray claims for a clear handball in the area by Gorman fell on deaf ears.

Hurley again crossing from the right failed to find Keating in the area, and on the counter Kinsella forced a fine reflex stop from the home keeper.

Strong challenges were coming on a regular basis, and Seán Callan was lucky to escape sanction - not even a free kick - for his intervention to stop Keating's run, though Doyle conceded a free kick for a relatively innocuous backing into Killian Brouder, who fell awkwardly.

With only minutes to go to the break, a series of incomplete passing attempts and a lucky deflection off the head of Mikie Rowe let Waweru into the corner where his cross found the feet of Keating, but his shot was snatched and a little wayward.

A Clifford free led to a cross from Doyle and a header by Sam Verdon which Kearrns was forced to tip over, Kinsella's pair of corners failing to provide anything until Graydon crossed back in for Callan, who couldn't control his shot.

The opening passages of the second half were largely featureless, though Mark Byrne went close to the righthand post with a low shot from just outside the 'D' five minutes in, and Maher took a trip outside his area to bring a halt to half-time substitute Shane Doherty's run.

Doherty was flagged offside ten minutes in, when he seemed have judged his run perfectly and kept the ball in play: a Bray throw was the decision, while Gary Boylan skied an effort following a long Brouder throw.

Callan was in some discomfort following a challenge on Doherty in the area after over-play by Lovic had lost Bray the ball, and was replaced by Bowden, the regular Bray Under-19 captain.

Nearing the half way mark, Kinsella was on hand to receive a through ball and seemed to have his effort deflected by Kearns, but a goalkick was the outcome, and another Doyle foray up the righthand sideline ended when his cross found no-one in the area to benefit.

A Kinsella cross was cleared with a low header by Gorman, and shortly after Waweru forced the concession of a corner. Maher palmed off but Luka Lovic couldn't keep it in play, and the Bray goalie needed to bat the next corner away, the defence completing the clearance.

With a quarter of an hour to play, scrambled defending in front of the Bray area led to a soft free for a foul on Waweru just under 20m out, and Rowe's set-piece bounded high off the wall of Seagulls, threatening to slide in under the bar until Maher punched it, Doherty getting a boot to the loose ball to no effect and Lovic eventually kicking well clear.

Moments later, an underhit Kearns clearance was cut out by Gary Shaw to Darren Craven, whose effort was blocked by the fist of the Galway keeper, and Shaw following up sent a bullet towards the goal, but only as far as McCormack, the Bray striker trying again but the ball coming off the home skipper's arm and pingponging a second time between the two, tapped by Shaw for Craven who sent it behind Murphy and then collided with the defender, leading to intense claims for a Bray penalty.

No spot-kick granted, Bray would then suffer within ten minutes from a loose pass in midfield that led to what was to be the only score of the game.`

Further substitutions on both sides had little time to play themselves in, and the attacking play in the final minutes was largely made by the Tribesmen, who clearly felt that the best form of defence in that case was forward play.

Mícheál Ó hUanacháin

Bray Wanderers: 1 Brian Maher; 8 Mark Byrne , 22 Steven Kinsella, 5 Aaron Barry (c) , 14 Richie O’Farrell; 6 Conor Clifford; 28 Sam Verdon, 18 Sean Callan, 17 Luka Lovic; 9 Joe Doyle, 7 Ryan Graydon
Subs: 10 Gary Shaw (for Verdon 72), 11 Brandon Kavanagh (for Doyle 85), 16 Darren Craven (for Kinsella 72), 19 Darragh Lynch, 20 Ryan Bowden (for Callan 61 inj), 25 Kian Clarke (gk), 27 Callum Thompson
Galway United: 16 Conor Kearns; 25 Alex Murphy, 32 Joe Gorman , 5 Killian Brouder, 3 Stephen Walsh; 22 Conor McCormack (c); 14 Mikey Rowe, 4 Gary Boylan, 7 Ruairi Keating, 10 David Hurley ; 18 Wilson Waweru
Subs: 1 Luke Dennison (gk), 8 Dean O'Shea (for Murphy 87), 11 Shane Doherty (for Keating H/T), 15 Carlton Ubaezuonu, 17 Caoilfhionn O’Dea, 20 Mikey Place (for Hurley 89), 24 Colin Kelly (for Walsh 90 inj)
Referee: Ray Matthews

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