Cole Omorehiomwan 16, 57

Leonardo Gaxha 50

Chris Lyons 48

First Division

Carlisle Grounds
24 Feb 2023

Cole awaits Crowley's corner
(top of pic)
Pic Des O’Connor

In the euphoria of a second League and third competitive victory on the trot for Bray, failure to keep a clean sheet at a well-attended Carlisle Grounds was perhaps balanced a little by the significance of a first ever League goal by the visitors.

It is probably appropriate here to first record the sequence of play for that historic moment.

While a Kerry attack was being broken up, Harry Groome didn't connect properly to clear, Nathan Gleeson pounced, turned and fed through for Leo Gaxha who was running into the gap. Alex Moody had come forward as he thought to collect the ball, but the little Albanian was too quick to it and shot low to the open net.

But Bray had been two up at that stage, and would go on to restore that margin within minutes.

Kerry had started very lively, and Gaxha was unlucky three minutes in to see his cross fly harmlessly over the net from a narrow angle. Moments later, a scuffed Chris Lyons effort seemed to have brushed Shane Guthrie on its way wide, but if it did, Referee Kevin O'Sullivan wasn't impressed.

The game continued in bright fashion, and just before the quarter hour a Sean O'Connell free from 20m was stopped by Moody's feet before he picked it up. Then Jake Walker shot high from the left with support inside him, and a Groome shot was put out by Kerry captain Matt Keane for a corner. Conor Crowley's flag-kick to the far post found Cole Omorehiomwan racing in behind the crush of players in front of the goal, and he headed powerfully past Wayne Guthrie.

Two minutes later, Walker ran on to a through ball and his shot should have found Lyons had Wayne Guthrie's foot not deflected it where the Bray man couldn't reach it - but Kalen Spillane could, and risked a corner with a panicky clearance that rebounded off Walker into the Kerry goalie's arms.

Bray boss Ian Ryan made an early substitution, wthdrawing Len O'Sullivan in favour of Jack Hudson, and around the half hour mark there were unsuccessful attacks at both ends, shortly after which there were a couple of breaks in play while players received attention.

With the break approaching, Sean Kennedy fired in a tempting cross, but Gaxha's effort was blocked by Max Murphy, and soon thereafter Moody had to get down smartly to stop a Kennedy effort at the foot of the near post. Deep in time added, Lyons tried an ambitious overhead shot which rebounded off Kennedy and was ultimately easily collected by the Kerry keeper.

As he had done the previous week, Billy Dennehy withdrew "Tryp" Vrljicak at half-time, Gleeson his replacement this week, but the start of the second period was hardly what he was hoping for.

A feed up the right by Crowley found Groome, who lost Spillane and steered the ball on to Ger Shortt, who had raced inside him up the wing. His cross didn't look promising, but Lyons, well wide of the goal, stooped low to glance the ball into the far corner of the Kerry net.

A response from the Kingdom players wasn't long in coming, and the substantial travelling support were ecstatic following Gaxha's strike.

Bray's answer was also fairly quick. First, skipper Dane Massey crossed into the area where Shortt was well-placed, but Wayne Guthrie made a superb save at the expense of a fruitless corner. Then minutes later a Massey cross from a Crowley free was blocked out by Kerry sub Ronan Teahan, and from the flag-kick Massey's header was tipped over by the keeper.

The second corner, however, found Omorehiomwan who had been lurking on the end line just past the far post only to nip forward just ahead of the ball and once more head into the top of the net.

If that reverse had disheartened the Kerry players, it wasn't evident in their play. Lyons and Groome both had efforts they failed to keep down, but so did Sean McGrath following a Keane free that rebounded off the wall.

Just short of the final quarter hour, Groome was lucky to escape with a caution after pushing Keane and also obstructing the ensuing free. A clash of subs with little more than ten minutes left saw Joe Power scuff his shot just left of the target under pressure from Sam Aladesanusi, and appeal in vain for a penalty.

In the final minutes of normal time, Kennedy got past Groome on a solo run and evaded Bray sub Luka Lovic before shooting a little weakly into Moody's midriff, the keeper racing forward to pick up the rebound.

But despite a Shortt cross that flew out past the goal and a Kerry free in a threatening position, the only moment of note in time added was a line ball off two boots on the ball simultaneously, originally signalled by assistant referee Mark Patchell as a throw to the visitors, but overturned by the man with the whistle. It was a fifty-fifty call if ever there was one.

Mícheál Ó hUanacháin

Bray Wanderers: 1 Alex Moody; 18 Max Murphy, 12 Cole Omorehiomwan , 14 Dane Massey (c), 3 Len O'Sullivan; 8 Harry Groome ; 7 Conor Crowley, 21 Guillermo Amiral , 11 Gerard Shortt; 19 Jake Walker, 9 Chris Lyons
Subs: 2 Eoin Farrell, 4 Jack Hudson (for O'Sullivan 24), 6 Luka Lovic (for Amiral 63), 10 Conor Davis (for Lyons 77), 15 Ben Feeney (for Walker 63), 16 Callum Thompson, 20 Conor Knight, 23 Joseph Power (for Crowley 77), 25 Stephen McGuinness (gk)
Kerry: 1 Wayne Guthrie; 15 Kevin Williams, 4 Shane Guthrie, 5 Kalen Spillane, 3 Sean O'Connell; 11 Sean Kennedy, 8 Matt Keane (c), 7 Sean McGrath, 14 Andy Quaid ; 20 Trpimir Vrljicak, 10 Leonardo Gaxha
Subs: 6 Alex Ainscough, 16 Callan Scully (gk), 17 Nathan Gleeson (for Vrljicak H/T), 18 Samuel Aladesanusi (for Spillane 54), 23 Ronan Teahan (for Quaid 54), 24 Jonathan Hannafin, 26 Steven McCarthy (for Kennedy 83), 27 Graham O'Reilly, 28 Cian Brosnan
Referee: Kevin O’Sullivan

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