Bray Wanderers earned a dramatic and somewhat controversial win away to Saint Patricks Athletic. Kieran Water’s stunning 87th minute winner was only one of several talking points during a game in which three players were sent off.
The visitors made the brighter start to the match. In the 5th minute Danny O'Connor flashed a header across the goal from a Dean Zambra corner while in the eight minute Jason Byrne played a wonderful pass in behind Jake Carroll to Kieran Waters. Waters curled his shot wide.
The home side created their first real chance in the 19th minute. Sean O'Connor, who had an eventful night got in behind Shane O'Connor at the back post and hit it first time but the ball went wide.
In the 37th minute the home side created another opportunity. After fine build up play involving Christy Fagan and Sean O'Connor, O 'Connor played it back to Greg Bolger and his shot just shaved the post.
However the first half was only the warm-up to the main event. There was nearly a goal for Pats in the 53rd minute. O'Connor took a free kick from the left with his right foot which was heading in but Darren Quigley dived low to his left and got his hands to the ball before it bounced onto the crossbar. Soon after Kenny Browne was booked for a foul on Bray striker Jason Byrne.
The game's first major flashpoint then occurred around the hour mark. Sean O'Connor went down after Jason Byrne raised his hand. It is not clear if Byrne made contact with O'Connor. Byrne was gesturing to suggest that O'Connor was playacting and the Bray striker was enraged after he received a straight red card from referee Padraig Sutton who had lost control of the match at this stage. Players from both teams squared up to each other and the Pats right winger Darren Meenan was also sent-off.
Another player to see red was Pats central defender Kenny Browne. In the 84th minute he received a second booking after referee Sutton decided that his tackle on Kieran 'Marty' Waters deserved a yellow card.
Waters who was a threat throughout, and who earlier had created a chance for Dean Marshall, which led to Marshall hitting the post, provided the game's outstanding moment in the 87th minute. He received the ball just inside the Pats half and set off towards goal before cutting in and striking a fine left foot shot into the top of the net.
The home side had two late chances to equalise. In the 89th minute Greg Bolger's corner from the right was headed just wide by James Chambers. Then in the fourth minute of injury time substitute Jake Kelly raced down the left wing and hit a fine left footed shot which just went past the post.
Bray held on to win what was at times an ugly contest. Chances were few and far between and unfortunately it was the three red cards and the performance of referee Sutton which were the main talking points after the game. It has to be pointed out though that Bray’s Kieran Waters did produce some outstanding moments in the game.
Saint Patricks Athletic: Brendan Clarke; Ger O'Brien, Kenny Browne, Conor Kenna (c), Jake Carroll; Darren Meenan, James Chambers, Greg Bolger, Ryan Coombes (Jake Kelly 90), Sean O'Connor (Anthony Flood 78); Christy Fagan.
Subs not used: Barry Murphy, Pat Flynn, Aidan Price, Ian Bermingham, Vinny Faherty.
Booked: Browne (57), Bolger (82).
Sent-off: Meenan (66), Browne (84).
Bray Wanderers: Darren Quigley; Shane O'Connor (Daire Doyle 67), Adam Mitchell (David Webster 42) , Danny O'Connor (c), Dane Massey; Kevin O'Connor, John Mulroy; Dean Zambra (Dean Marshall 34), Sean Houston, Kieran Waters; Jason Byrne.
Subs not used: Brian Kane, Lee Dixon, Ismahil Akinade, Brendan King.
Booked: Waters (49), Houston (72).
Sent-off: Byrne (64).
Referee: Padraigh Sutton.
Extratime.ie man of the match: Kieran Waters (Bray Wanderers).