BRAY WANDERERS 0-0 SHELBOURNE
There was a lack of passion at the Carlisle on Sunday afternoon considering the importance to both clubs of the points on offer. Despite this, both sets of medics were kept busy in a first half that saw six added minutes. Bray defender Jody Lynch needed lengthy attention to a leg injury after twenty, but a stretcher was required for his opposite number Kevin Doherty who departed with a serious rib injury just before the interval.
A first minute corner for the home side proved a false dawn and Shels keeper Williams had only a routine header from O’Connor to deal with during the entire first half. Bray’s Gregg had little more to do although he was called upon to make a smart save with his legs from Stephen Geoghegan after 40 minutes. A minute later Paul Keegan had the ball in the net but was offside. Neither keeper was employed as O’Connor volleyed Lynch’s cross from the left just over whilst Hutton missed an easier opportunity by a greater margin at the other end.
Suddenly there was more activity in the open seating than there had been in either goalmouth as an unexpected shower sent spectators scuttling in search of cover. But, as for the players, there was nowhere to hide. Fortunately bright sunlight soon returned although the incongruous black clouds remained overhead. No sign of a welcome rainbow.
Stephen Fox was again proving a visible presence in the Bray midfield but was fortunate to be punished with just a corner when, under no pressure, he gifted the ball to the opposition. Former Pat’s left back Keith Doyle, in for his first start for the injured Tresson, was bedding in well. For League leaders, Shelbourne looked lightweight compared to the Bohemians side seen at the Carlisle last Tuesday. They were strongest on the left where the impressive Heary thwarted Jason Lynch’s progress on a number of occasions and the pacy Houlihan gave Matt Britton some anxious moments down the flank. But their tactics in packing the midfield and leaving Geoghegan as a lone striker lacked the ambition of champions. They played neat ground football on occasions but rarely dominated a competitive Bray side that is understandably low on confidence at the moment.
Some of this was restored by the emergence of the larger than life Wesley Charles as Lynch’s second half replacement. A good run by Keogh and slick inter-passing between Fox and Gormley set up the best chance of the match for Keegan on 56 minutes, but his snatched effort in front of goal flew over. It was a bad miss from a striker going through a difficult spell where increasing frustration has distracted his ability to focus.
Penderville, who had replaced the unfortunate Doherty, came close with two headers as the visitors upped the tempo in an attempt to steal the points in the closing minutes. Charles headed the first effort away; the second was just over. Burns had the best opportunity to win the game for Shels with nine minutes to go but sent his header from Geoghegan’s cross just wide. After a late cavalry charge from the irrepressible Charles the game petered out with Wanderers perhaps feeling they had won a point rather than lost two.
by Brian de Salvo
Bray Wanderers: 1 Matt Gregg; 2 Matt Britton, 4 Jody Lynch, 5 Michael Doohan, 3 Keith Doyle; 7 Barry O’Connor, 9 Stephen Fox, 6 Eddie Gormley, 8 Philip Keogh; 10 Jason Byrne, 16 Paul Keegan