Bray Wanderers v Bohemians in Pictures - by Ian Anderson and Eddie Lennon
A new-look Bohemians got off to an impressive start in the Carlisle Grounds on Friday evening, as they recovered from the concession of a 20th minute Jake Kelly goal to emerge with a comfortable victory.
Heading into this game, it was difficult to know what we could expect from Bohemians, but they did make a bright start, and went close to taking the lead on two minutes when Christy Fagan found himself one-on-one with Matt Gregg, but the Bray custodian bravely came out to win a vital tackle just outside the penalty area.
Killian Brennan, who only recently re-signed for the club, also went close with a free just three minutes later, as Bray were finding it hard to get to grips with the Bohs midfield. They did eventually settle down though, and Jake Kelly put in a telling cross from the left-wing, but unfortunately for the home side, Shane O'Neill could only hit fresh air with his attempted strike.
Bray were growing into the game however, and they were finding particular joy from corners, with new recruit Joe Kendrick drilling in a number of impressive deliveries from the right-hand side. One set-piece on 16 minutes was met by a powerful header from Danny O'Connor, but Gypsies 'keeper Craig Sexton, a former Manchester United trainee, was more than equal to it.
Kendrick's corners were continuing to cause problems for Bohs though, and another one two minutes later ended up with Bray being awarded a penalty after Ger O'Brien handled the ball above the head of O'Connor. O'Brien was given a yellow card for this indiscretion, and his side's misery was compounded when Jake Kelly brilliantly dispatched his spot-kick into the top right-hand corner of the net.
This came as a major blow to Pat Fenlon's outfit, but they were back on level terms by the half-hour mark when Tom Connolly once again pointed to the spot following a foul by Daire Doyle on the rampaging Lee Dixon just inside the box. Christy Fagan was on hand to send Gregg the wrong way, as Bohs suddenly found themselves back in the contest.
This lifted their spirits no end, and it seemed like only a matter of time before Bohs regained their lead. Indeed, this is exactly what happened six minutes before the break, as Brennan unleashed an unstoppable 25-yard free-kick to the back of The Seagulls' net. The response to going behind would no doubt have delighted Pat Fenlon, and his side were good value for their 2-1 lead going in at the break.
Bray, on the other hand, would need to raise their game if they had any chance of getting something out of the game. To be fair, they did make a decent start to the second period, and Graham Kelly did test Sexton from the edge of the box, though his effort was straight at Sexton in the end. Bohs always looked the more likely to score again though, and so they did with 25 minutes remaining when excellent build-up play by Christy Fagan and Stephen Traynor put through Anto Flood on the left, and he coolly slotted to the bottom corner of the Bray goal from a distance of 12 yards.
This left Bray with a mountain to climb, though they did receive a potential lifeline four minutes later when O'Brien once again gave away a penalty, this time for a foul on substitute John Mulroy. Jake Kelly once more stepped up for this kick, only this time his shot smacked off the crossbar and fell to safety.
Had he scored on this occasion, it may well have sparked the game into life but, as it turned out, it was a rather flat final twenty minutes as Bohs effectively closed out the game. Bray did their very best to force their way back into the contest but, if anyone was going to get another goal, it seemed more than likely that it would be the 2008 & 2009 Champions.
Bohs will take great confidence from this victory, while Bray will be struck with the realisation that they have a lot of work to do if they are to climb up the table this season.
Bray Wanderers: Matt Gregg; Daire Doyle (Dave Webster '46), Adam Mitchell, Joe Kendrick, Dane Massey; Jake Kelly, Gary Dempsey, Danny O'Connor (John Mulroy '66), Chris Shields, Graham Kelly; Shane O'Neill (Danny McGuinness '72).
Subs not used: Brian Kane, Stephen Last, Dean Zambra, Conor Murphy.
Bookings: Doyle (31), Kendrick (38).
Bohemians: Craig Sexton; Owen Heary, Ger O'Brien (Karl Somers, 79), Aidan Price, Ollie Cahill; Lee Dixon, Mark Rossiter (Roberto Lopez, 82) Stephen Traynor, Killian Brennan; Christy Fagan, Anto Flood.
Subs not used: Gary Burke, Kevin Feely, Daniel Joyce, Chris Forrester, David Lodola.
Bookings: O'Brien (20).
Referee: Tom Connolly (Dublin).
Extra Time Man Of The Match: Christy Fagan (Bohemians).