Homepage Image courtesy of Peter Fitzpatrick
Drogheda United’s good form continued as they put together an impressive second half display to leave the Carlisle Grounds with a 3-1 win against ten-man Bray. All four goals came in an action packed second 45 as substitutions had a massive impact on this game.
Drogheda opened the scoring right after the break when a long ball into the Bray box caused mayhem and eventually Danny O’Connor headed the ball but it fell to Eric Foley, 25 yards out, and the midfielder hit a dipping volley past the diving Quigley.
Bray were back on level terms on 69 minutes when a double sub paid dividends as Adam Hanlon crossed for Dean Marshall at the back post the he headed in off the post. However three minutes later and Declan O’Brien was provided a chance to re-take the lead from the spot which he duly obliged with. All three points were sealed when Declan O’Brien turned from scorer to provider as he hit a free from 20 yards out and Quigley could only parry it to his right where another sub, Jason Marks, was waiting to tap home.
Bray were reduced to ten men when Kevin O’Connor saw yellow for the second time after fouling Declan O’Brien, he picked up a card on the half hour mark for dissent.
Both sides had their chances in what was an end-to-end first half, although the best fell to the home side when on 42 minutes Daire Doyle hit the woodwork. Sean Houston was forced out of the box by Alan Byrne but he offloaded to Kevin O’Connor who in turn squared to Doyle who unleashed the shot.
Drogheda had grounds for a penalty when a Peter Hynes shot was parried by Quigley and Ryan Brennan was first to react but as he pulled back Danny O’Connor came through the back of him and despite standing only yards away Rob Rogers waved play on.
Both keepers made relatively easy saves in the opening 45 minutes. Sava was the busier of the two as some good Bray play opened the Drogheda defence on several occasions. Sean Houston was the main threat for the home side, the midfielder played all across the centre of the park and always looked dangerous.
Drogheda should have doubled their lead minutes after the opener when Brian Gannon raced down the right wing and cut back in to find the unmarked Declan O’Brien who turned and shot but Quigley was alert to the danger and had come out to close the gap.
Moments before though a Kieran Marty Waters cross come shot deflected off Philip Hand and almost ended up in the back of the net only for the post coming to the Drogheda defender’s rescue.
Sean Brennan was through on 67 minutes as he beat the offside trap and as he raced toward goal hesitancy was written all over him and he tried to round the advancing keeper but Quigley dived as his feet to make the save.
Once Bray went behind and went a man down it seemed impossible for them to get back into the game. Drogheda are flattered by the scoreline in what was certainly a game of two halves.
Bray Wanderers: Darren Quigley; Shane O’Connor, Danny O’Connor, Adam Mitchell, Dane Massey; Sean Houston (John Sullivan 68), Shane O’Connor, Dean Zambra, Daire Doyle (Adam Hanlon 68), Kieran Marty Waters, John Mulroy (Ismahil Akindae 83)
Subs not used: Colm Tresson, Dean Marshall, Pat Seery, Brian Kane, Conor Earley.
Booked: K O’Connor (30), Hanlon (72).
Sent Off: K O’Connor (80).
Drogheda United: Gabriel Sava; Brian Gannon, Derek Prendergast, Alan Byrne, Philip Hand; Ryan Brennan, Paul Crowley, Eric Foley (John Sullivan 68), Sean Brennan (Jason Marks 75); Declan O’Brien, Peter Hynes (Cathal Brady 87).
Subs not used: Michael Schlingermann, Stephen Quigley, Tiarnan Mulvenna, Conor Mc Mahon.
Booked: D O’Brien (17), A Byrne (62), Prendergast (78).
Referee: Rob Rogers.
Attendance: 500 (estimate).
Extratime Man of the Match: Peter Hynes (Drogheda United).
P.J. generally covers Drogheda games at HD Park and can generally be found at any Dublin ground when of a loose end on a Friday night.