Date: 7:45 p.m. March 19, 2010
Venue: Carlisle Grounds
Fingal had started the game pressed high up the field, but Bray were coping quite well early on, and were more than matching the Santry side in the middle of the park. However, Fingal were starting to threaten as the half developed, and they had their first opening of the game when Zayed headed over after nine minutes from a well-drilled cross from the right-wing by Shaun Maher.
The Bray defence were struggling when the ball was played in high, but The Seagulls were equally capable of causing their opponents problems in the air, with Robbie Doyle looking quite lively in and around the box. However Fingal always looked the more likely of the two sides to take the lead, and this is exactly what they did with a quarter of an hour gone.
The move began in earnest with Ger O'Brien on the right hand touch-line, and he went on a mazy run across the pitch and, after a neat one-two, presented former Bray man Zayed with a clear-cut opportunity from a distance of ten yards, which was despatched clinically in the bottom corner of Brian Kane's net by the prolific striker.
This score came at the perfect time for Fingal, as Bray would have felt beforehand that they would be in with a great chance if they managed to weather the storm in the opening 15 minutes. The Seagulls instead found themselves chasing the game, and with the players that Buckley had out on the pitch, this was always going to be a difficult task.
They went about this task admirably though, and they were extremely unfortunate that they didn't get back onto level terms on 17 minutes when Chris Shields hit just wide from a Kavanagh corner. They also went close eight minutes later when left-back Knight headed just over after Shields had flicked on a David Tyrrell free-kick from deep.
A goal from either of these opportunities could have had a drastic effect on the how the game panned out. Instead, Fingal started to control the game around the middle, and went very close to extending their lead with four first-half minutes remaining when O'Neill lashed onto an O'Brien delivery, but his effort was brilliantly turned away by Kane.
This meant that Zayed's goal was all that separated the sides at the break, which left the game wide open going into the second period of play. Unfortunately for Bray though, their task was made even more difficult when Gary O'Neill finished sweetly to the net after some superb individual play by Ronan Finn on 53 minutes.
This meant that Bray needed a goal as quickly as possible if they were going to get something out of the game, but they were finding it hard to get the ball off a very composed and confident Sporting Fingal side. Eddie Gormley did try to address the problem by introducing towering new recruit Pablo Rodriguez (alongside David O'Neill), but the next chance came the way of the impressive Finn, who would have scored if it wasn't for veteran Colm Tresson's clearance off the line.
Rodriguez did eventually settle into the game though, and started to cause some problems for Shaun Williams and Kenny Browne. This gave them something of an outlet to put some pressure on the Fingal goal, and they received a lifeline with 15 minutes remaining when Shane O'Neill buried low into the net from 20 metres out.
This meant that Sporting Fingal were in for a difficult final quarter of an hour, but they were able to step up a gear when they wanted to and they put the game beyond doubt on 81 minutes when Gary O'Neill scrambled over the line following a ball in from the outstanding Finn.
The securing of this victory will lift a massive weight off the shoulders of the Sporting Fingal players, and they can now look forward to getting more wins under their belt from here on in. As for Bray, they are still without a point with three games played, and will need to pick up some points sooner rather than later.
Bray Wanderers: Brian Kane; Daire Doyle, Shane O'Connor, Colm Tresson, Philip Knight; Richie Baker (John Mulroy '74), James Kavanagh, Chris Shields, David Tyrrell (David O'Neill '63), Robbie Doyle (Pablio Rodriguez '62), Shane O'Neill.
Subs not used: Carl Donnelly, David Webster.
Yellow Cards: Robbie Doyle, Richie Baker.
Sporting Fingal: Brendan Clarke; Ger O'Brien, Shaun Williams (Alan Kirby '83), Shaun Maher, Stephen Paisley; Conan Byrne, Kenny Browne, Ronan Finn; Gary O'Neill, Shane McFaul, Eamon Zayed (Keith Quinn '79).
Subs not used: Brian Gannon, Darren Quigley, Glen Crowe.
Yellow Card: Shane McFaul, Ger O'Brien, Shaun Maher.
Referee: Tom Connolly (Dublin).
Extratime.ie Player-Of-The-Match: Ronan Finn (Sporting Fingal).