On a bitter night at Dalymount Park, Bohemians left it late to equalise against Bray Wanderers. It was a dull encounter from which both sides will be happy to have taken a share of the points.
Behind to a John Mulroy goal Bohemians laid siege on the Bray goal for the final 20 minutes with no luck until the 93rd minute. However, the goal they needed finally came in the last minute of added time. Aiden Price was used as a striker in the final minutes and his header fell to Anto Flood. He fed Chris Forrester on the edge of the area who fired in a low stinging shot to salvage a draw for Bohemians
The first half was painstakingly dull, with neither side appearing to want the responsibility of holding on to possession. Bohemians were serial offenders of misplacing passes and John Mulroy almost got lucky when he pounced to block down Chris O’Connor in the home goal. However, the ball eventually dropped wide under the watchful eye of Ollie Cahill.
A hefty challenge on Bohs winger Killian Brennan gave him the chance to swing in a free kick. The ball somehow reached Gary Burke in the box but his fierce half volley was bravely blocked by the Bray defence. Constant pressure by Bray’s front men, especially Conor Murphy forced the home team to resort to long hopeful balls upfield. While the ball spent most of the first half in the air, Anto Flood spent most of it on the ground. The big man up front was constantly frustrated by the close attention from Adam Mitchell and took more than his fair share of knocks from the Bray defenders.
The best chance of the half went to Bray winger Mulroy. A through ball from the left sent him in on goal, his quick feet allowing him to go around the keeper but just as he looked to stroke the ball home, Cahill sprinted in to knock the ball out for a corner.
Dalymount was stunned into silence on 49 minutes when “The Seagulls” took the lead. A powerful volley from the edge of the box was saved by O’Connor’s feet but the rebound fell to Mulroy in the box who steered the ball into the corner of the net. The home team were adamant it was offside but the officials ignored their angry protests.
Aidan Price nearly handed Bray a second goal when his feeble back pass to his keeper was seized on by Murphy who strode towards goal. He tried to square it but Liam Burns saved his defensive partner’s embarrassment when he slid in to clear the ball to safety. Bray continued to look the more dangerous side. Jake Kelly drove a shot across goal and Murphy almost benefited as he lurked near the far post but the ball evaded him.
The game failed to get any more exciting. Bray were comfortable with their one goal lead while Bohemians were just unable to create anything of note, wasting any possession they had. Ger O’Brien and Robert Bayly were controlling the midfield for the home side and while they managed to retain possession they never threatened going forward.
Bray’s only chances were coming as a result of Bohemian mistakes and Price picked up a needless yellow when he bundled Kelly over, a long distance from goal. David Webster considered it within his range and smashed a shot just over the crossbar to the relief of O’Connor in goal.
“The Gypsies” finally managed an effort on goal worthy of a mention. Bayly collected the ball in midfield, took a few strides towards goal before hitting a looping shot which bounced against the crossbar. Bray had retreated well into their own half, inviting the home team to attack.
Eventually the home side had a shot on target. Brennan whipped in an impressive cross from a free kick and Forrester slid in knocking the ball at goal but Matt Gregg threw himself at it to make the save. Flood followed up but an acrobatic block by Prendergast on the line kept the ball out. Bray replied to the Bohs onslaught with a shot from distance by substitute Shane O’Neill which O’Connor eventually held on to.
The Bray crossbar was hit once more when Price rose above the crowd to head Brennan’s corner onto the top the woodwork. And moments later, the Bray defence was breached by Forrester.
There was still time for one more opportunity after the goal but Brennan’s free kick was easily dealt with by the Bray defence after Chris Shields picked up a yellow for his trouble in the box.
Bohemian FC: Chris O’Connor; Owen Heary, Liam Burns, Aiden Price, Ollie Cahill (Chris Forrester, 70); Gary Burke (Eoin Fowler, 81), Robert Bayly, Ger O’Brien, Killian Brennan, Stephen Traynor; Anto Flood.
Subs Not Used: Craig Sexton, Lee Dixon, Daniel Joyce, Roberto Lopez, Kevin Feely.
Bookings: A Price (78), K Brennan (82), G O'Brien (87).
Bray Wanderers: Matt Gregg; Dave Webster, Adam Mitchell, Derek Prendergast, Dane Massey; Gary Dempsey, Danny O’Connor, Chris Shields; Jake Kelly, John Mulroy (Dean Zambra, 72), Conor Murphy (Shane O’Neill, 75).
Subs Not Used: Brian Kane, Daire Doyle, Sean Houston, Graham Kelly, Joe Kendrick.
Bookings: D O'Connor (50), D Massey (68), A Mitchell (93), C Shields (93).
Referee: Damien Hancock.
Extratime.ie Man Of The Match: Robert Bayly (Bohemians).