The curtain came down on Bray’s 2024 pre-season build up with a narrow loss to Premier Division Drogheda.
With Weavers Park deemed unplayable due to the recent bad weather, the tie was switched to a behind closed doors fixture on the all-weather at TU Blanchardstown on Friday evening.
It was a very competitive game as both teams prepared for the season league openers next week – with plenty of strong tackles on both sides.
No less than 17 Wanderers players’ saw action with Paul Murphy making his first appearance on his return to the club.
Playing in their new Royal Blue away trip – manufactured Capelli Sport and sponsored by Outdoor Living – the Seagulls hit the front in the eighth minute.
Cole Omorehiomwan played a wonderful curling ball over the top for last season’s joint-top goal-scorer Ben Feeney to chase down.
He got in behind the United defence, nodded past goalkeeper Ryan Maher just outside the penalty area and converted low from a tight angle.
But that joy was shot-lived as Louth outfit equalised just a minute later.
Darragh Markey’s initial shot was blocked on the edge of the box. The ball rebounded to him to drill low left footed to the far bottom corner of the net.
Drogheda went close in the 17th minute as Frantz Pierrot’s 22-yard attempt took a big deflection and crashed back off the crossbar.
Then in the 24th minute, Jimmy Corcoran pulled off a brilliant point-blank save to keep out Jack Keaney’s header off a corner.
Just before the interval, Bray had another chance as Harry Groome dinked a cross from the right which Cristian Magerusan headed just over.
The second period was a scrappy affair with over a dozen changes made all told.
The Wicklow team had another opportunity on 56 as Groome set-up Magerusan in the box. But his low 12-yard effort was blocked superbly by Maher.
With 17 minutes of normal time remaining, sub Callum Thompson broke off the left, taking Feeney’s return pass. But the winger shot over when going for goal.
United’s winner came in the 76th minute.
Sub Warren Davis whipped over a corner from the right which fellow reserve Andrew Quinn hooked to the net from with a close range volley.
Report from braywanderersfc.ie
Bray Wanderers: 1 Jimmy Corcoran; 3 Evan Oram, 4 Kilian Cantwell (c), 5 Cole Omorehiomwan, 7 Darren Craven, 8 Harry Groome, 9 Cristian Magerusan, 10 Ben Feeney , 14 Freddie Turley, 23 Shane Griffin, 31 Kieran Cruise