This was a very hard fought victory for Bohemians against Bray Wanderers at the Carlisle Grounds on an awfully wet Monday night thanks to two goals from a very impressive Christy Fagan. Fagan opened the scoring on 36 minutes when he met an incredible cross by Killian Brennan on the right wing with a firm header. Matt Gregg pulled off a great save but Fagan was there to smash the rebound into the roof of the net.
The game kicked off in typical rainy seaside weather and the conditions effected the game with the first twenty minutes particular scrappy in midfield. Glenn Cronin for Bohemians and Adam Mitchell for Bray both picked up early bookings for sliding tackles which were mainly caused by a very slippery surface.
The first chance of the game went to Bohemians after a clever pass by Robert Bayly from midfield put Fagan through to the right of the Bray goal but he dragged his shot wide of the far post. Fagan did well again a few minutes later when he battled to get on the end of a long ball by Owen Heary but his pass back across the face of goal wasn’t followed up by anyone in a red and black shirt.
Bray’s two striker’s John Mulroy and Conor Murphy were causing trouble for Bohs’ centre halved with their pace. Mulroy nearly had a chance to get a strike on goal but Heary slid in well to steal the ball. On 27 minutes Murphy nipped in to rob possession from Mark Rossiter who tried to be too clever with the ball. He passed to Mulroy who managed to let fly from distance but his shot was deflected up into the air and bravely claimed by Bohs keeper Barry Murphy who clattered in to Dane Massey. The Bray player was unlucky to pick up a yellow for the challenge.
A few more chances began to materialise towards the end of the first half when an incredible cross by Bray’s Joe Kendrick on the left was met with a glancing header by Mulroy but it flew wide on 34 minutes. However, moments later Fagan pounced to put the away side into the lead.
There was almost an instant response for Bray when captain Gary Dempsey curled in a free kick which looked to be heading into the top corner but Barry Murphy tipped the ball wide. Before half time Bray also had a loud shout for a penalty ignored by referee Derek Tomney. After Aiden Price rose to flick away a Bray corner, Danny O’Connor picked up the ball and was then clumsily bundled over by the big Bohs centre half but the referee saw nothing wrong with the challenge.
It was disaster for the home defence immediately at the beginning of the second half. A long aimless ball was pumped forward by Bohemians and Shane O'Connor attempted to knock the ball back to his keeper but Fagan nipped in before Gregg could gather and dinked the ball past the Ex-Bohs keeper. The three points were all but secured with Fagan’s third goal against Bray this season.
There was little action of note over the next twenty minutes with Bohemians content with their two goal lead while Bray simply couldn’t conjure any clear efforts on goal. Robert Bayly picked up a yellow for a mistimed tackle on O’Connor, who in turn got his name in the book for his reaction.
Shane O’Neill came on for Bray in an attack minded change and squandered a brilliant chance to score on 70 minutes. A deft flick by Dempsey, easily the best Bray player on the night, put him in on goal. He tried to curl it in at the near post but only succeeded in hitting the side netting.
However, ten minutes later Bray managed to get a goal back. Gary Dempsey deservedly scored with a stinging shot from outside the area that might have taken a touch of Mark Rossiter to fly over the despairing dive of Murphy and into the top corner.
The final ten minutes were a very tense affair with Bohs trying to soak up the pressure and launching long balls while Bray forced everyone forward in hope of a late equaliser. Dempsey had an opportunity to cap his impressive performance with a second goal when Dane Massey squeezed in a low cross from the left and he got a touch, but the ball skidded wide to the relief of Barry Murphy in the away goal. Bohs’ substitute Keith Buckley also had a chance to put the result beyond doubt when fellow substitute Stephen Traynor teed him up on the edge of the box but he chipped his shot over the crossbar.
In the last minute of normal time Bray had their last and one of their best opportunities to score. The ball was floated back into the box with a fancy bicycle by O’Neill and it fell to Bray’s top scorer Conor O’Neill but he blasted wide.
Bray Wanderers: Matt Gregg; Shane O‘Connor, Adam Mitchell, Derek Prendergast, Joe Kendrick (Dan McGuinness, 72); Chris Shields, Gary Dempsey, Danny O‘Connor (Daire Doyle, 73) , Dane Massey; John Mulroy (Shane O‘Neill, 59), Conor Murphy.
Subs not used: Brian Kane, Stephen Last, Dean Zambra, Sean Houston.
Bookings: A Mitchell (5), D Massey (28), D O‘Connor (64).
Bohemians: Barry Murphy; Owen Heary, Liam Burns, Aiden Price, Mark Rossiter; Christopher Forrester (Keith Buckley, 69), Robert Bayly, Glenn Cronin (Stephen Traynor, 66), Killian Brennan, Ger O‘Brien (Stephen Hurley, 90); Chris Fagan.
Subs not used: Craig Sexton, Ollie Cahill, Eoin Fowler, Kevin Feely.
Bookings: G Cronin (11), C Forrester (40), R Bayly (64).
Referee: Derek Tomney.
Attendance: 400 (estimate).
extratime.ie Man of the Match: Christy Fagan, scored two very important goals and held the ball up well all night. .