With RTE cameras watching, Bray and St Pats played out a match full of action and was definitely a great advert for the league. Bray seemed set to get an unlikely win when Ken Oman was sent off and Jake Kelly scored the resulting penalty. But the Saints came roaring back and scored four goals before a late consolation from Adam Hanlon.
The game got off to a frantic start as Bray hoped to catch St Pats sleeping at kick-off. Adam Hanlon worked his way into the box and his shot was parried by Brendan Clarke.
But the game was completely changed in the 12th minute of the match.
Hanlon picked up the ball near the halfway line and played it towards Ismahil Akinade. He amazingly nodded the ball down to the onrushing Dave Cassidy, who looked ready to shoot before he was pulled down by Ken Oman. Oman was sent off and former St Pats man Jake Kelly dispatched the penalty past Clarke to give Bray an unlikely lead.
Akinade then had a chance to make it two but his header was swallowed up by Clarke in the Saints goal.
St Pats slowly regained their foot in the game and began to attack Bray through Conan Byrne. He was given the ball by Keith Fahey and drilled a cross in towards Christopher Fagan. It missed Fagan but Webster miskicked the ball and Adam Mitchell had to clear to stop Fagan having a second chance.
But, two minutes later, Pats were level with Christopher Forrester scoring a cracking goal. He picked the ball up twenty five yards out and smashed a shot off the underside of the crossbar. It bounced out and Fagan missed his header but the lineswoman, Michelle O’Neill, signaled that it was a goal.
After the break, Pats came out and somehow scored three goals in the space of ten minutes. It all started in the 53nd minute. Keith Fahey scored a fluke goal when his cross along the ground evaded Stephen McGuinness in the Bray goal and went straight into the net.
Fahey then went and set up the next goal. Forrester was fouled by Niall Cooney near the halfway line but Fahey picked up the loose ball and ran at the Bray defence. He then played a pass across the edge of the box for Conan Byrne to slam home.
Conan Byrne then scored another flukey goal in the 62nd minute as his powerful cross went over McGuinness and nestled in the far corner of the net.
Bray tried to get back into the game and Dave Cassidy went close, hitting the post with a volley from long range. Ismahil Akinade then shot past Clarke, after good work from Jake Kelly and Cassidy, but Killian Brennan cleared off the line.
They finally got one goal back just before the end of the game in the 79th minute. Graham Kelly took the corner and drifted it towards the back post. Adam Hanlon jumped highest and nodded past Clarke and into the far corner.
And 4-2 is how it finished, with Bray left looking back over their shoulder while three points for St Pats’ means they can continue to look up.
Bray Wanderers: Stephen McGuinness; Niall Cooney, Dave Webster ©, Adam Mitchell, Joe Gorman; Graham Kelly, Dean Zambra; Adam Hanlon, David Cassidy (Shane O’Neill 76), Jake Kelly; Ismahil Akinade (David Scully 74).
Subs not used: Gavin Sheridan, Shane O’Connor, Gareth McDonagh, Ryan Swan, Michael Brown.
Booked: Webster (39), Cooney (45), Scully (89).
St Patrick’s Athletic: Brendan Clarke; Ger O’Brien ©, Ken Oman, Sean Hoare, Aaron Greene; Greg Bolger, Killian Brennan; Conan Byrne, Keith Fahey (James Chambers 77), Chris Forrester (Lorcan Fitzgerald 90); Christy Fagan (Mark Quigley 69).
Subs not used: Pat Jennings, Derek Foran, Sam Verdon, Conor McCormack.
Sent Off: Ken Oman (12)
Referee: Paul Tuite.
Extratime Man of the Match: Conan Byrne (St Patrick's Ath)