Bray Wanderers took all three points from UCD Bowl on Saturday night as the Seagulls defeated the Students by the odd goal in nine. Jason Byrne was UCD's main tormentor with four well taken goals. Byrne has now scored nine in three games and becomes only the second player in league history to score more than 200 goals.
In a game were attackers was definitely on top, Ismahil Akinade was Bray's other goal scorer. UCD’s goals came through Cillian Morrison, Dave McMillan, David O’Connor and a late consolation from Robbie Creevy.
The visitors started like a house on fire, with Marty Waters playing in Ismahil Akinade, who shot inches wide of Mark McGinley's post with just two minutes on the clock.
The Students responded in resounding fashion on four minutes. Liam Traynor was fouled on the right wing and Tom O'Halloran swung in a delightful free kick for Cillian Morrison to head home powerfully giving Darren Quigley no chance.
On 14 minutes, Waters, a key player for Wanderers this campaign, played a delicate pass into the path of Akinade, who took the ball inside Hugh Douglas and smashed home from the edge of the area to level for the Seasiders.
Jason Byrne almost provided the third goal of the game inside 20 minutes, finding the ball in space before cannoning a shot wide of McGinley's post from long range.
Just past the 20 minute mark, the ball was chipped over the top for Morrison who fired past Quigley, only for it to be controversially ruled out for offside by linesman Lee Bevans.
26 minutes in, O'Halloran squared the ball to Barry McCabe but the midfielder hammered the ball over from the edge of the box.
Bray played some attractive football in the opening period and on 41 minutes they were rewarded. A long ball forward from Waters was punched down by McGinley into the path of Byrne and the experienced marksman made no mistake rolling the ball past a despairing McGinley to give Pat Devlin's men the lead.
With the half drawing to a close Gary Dempsey's long range effort rebounded of the crossbar to Mulroy and his shot was saved by McGinley.
A third did arrive for Bray just 30 seconds later. Waters shot cannoned back off the post to Byrne and he once again slotted a composed drive past McGinley to give the visitors a deserved two-goal lead at the interval.
Bray, much like the end of the first period, were running riot on the UCD defence. Mulroy swivelled around James Kavanagh on 49 minutes and tried a deft chip over McGinley who tipped it wide for a corner. Ominous sign for the Students.
UCD had a sustained period of pressure with Traynor clipping in a couple of dangerous crosses but it was Wanderers who continued to create the opportunities. First Waters set Mulroy away but his shot was wide and then moments later Dempsey set the in-form Mulroy through only for McGinley to stop his fine effort with a stunning save.
With an hour on the clock UCD’s two main tormentors Waters and Byrne combined again with the latter completing his hat trick with a curling effort past the hapless McGinley.
UCD were handed a lifeline on 63 minutes when David Webster fouled Dave McMillan and referee Sean Grant awarded a penalty. The striker picked himself up to smash the ball past Quigley for his first league goal at the bowl this season.
The Students began to push forward in their droves and McMillan, already with a goal to his name, tested Quigley with a stinging strike that the experienced stopper cleared well with a powerful punch.
With 13 minutes remaining UCD managed to close the gap to one goal when an O’Halloran’s corner was headed across goal by Douglas. Robbie Creevy headed the ball into the path of captain Dave O’Connor with the defender heading home from close range.
The Students hope was short lived as, in the 84th minute, experience paid dividends with Dempsey sliding an inch perfect ball to Byrne who bagged his fourth and the Seagulls fifth with a well taken finish past McGinley.
UCD huffed and puffed in search of another goal and it came in the final minute of stoppage time when Kavanagh’s long throw was cleared to Creevy who stroked the ball into the corner.
Unfortunately for the Students, that was the game's last action as Bray Wanderers extend their unbeaten run to five league outings.
UCD: Mark McGinley; Hugh Douglas, James Kavanagh, David O'Connor (c); Liam Traynor, Barry McCabe (Craig Walsh 60), Robbie Creevy, Gary Burke (Dean Clarke 60), Tom O'Halloran (Samir Belhout 78); Cillian Morrison, David McMillan.
Subs Not Used: Ger Barron (GK), Gareth Matthews, Daniel Corcoran, Mark Langtry.
Bray Wanderers: Darren Quigley; Daire Doyle, David Webster, Shane O'Connor, Conor Early; Gary Dempsey (Kevin O’Connor 89), Dean Zambra; Ismahil Akinade (Kevin Knight 84), John Mulroy, Kieran Marty Waters; Jason Byrne (c).
Subs Not Used: Sean Holmes (GK), Danny O’Connor, Adam Mitchell, Peter Thomas, Sean Hurley.
Booked: Webster (63).
Referee: Sean Grant
Extratime.Ie Man Of The Match: Jason Byrne (Bray Wanderers).