Nine man Bray Wanderers moved a point closer to guaranteeing their Premier Division status as they drew 1-1 with Drogheda United in a heated contest at United Park.
Adam Hanlon gave the visitors the lead shortly after the hour mark with a fine strike only for substitute Paul Andrews to level for the home side before Ismihal Akinade and Shane O’Connor were dismissed late on for the Seagulls.
Neither side were able to get a hold of the game early on but Bray came closest to opening the scoring with a quarter of an hour played as Graham Kelly’s powerful free kick from 25 yards deflected off Adam Wixted in the Drogheda wall but bounced narrowly beyond the far post.
Drogheda registered their first effort on target soon after as Mick Daly connected with Gavan Holohan’s corner but the midfielder was denied by a point blank save from Bray stopper Stephen McGuiness.
The visitors then wasted a clear cut chance on the half hour mark as Niall Cooney’s deep cross from the right found the unmarked Graham Kelly but the striker was unable to hit the target from 6 yards as the sides went in at the break scoreless.
The Seagulls started the second period in the ascendancy again as Akinade was profligate on more than once occasion. Firstly, the striker failed to keep his volley on target when picked out at the back post by Jake Kelly and the striker failed to work Michéal Schlingermann later on when played through by David Cassidy.
Bray were eventually rewarded for their dominance on 62 minutes when Hanlon picked up the ball on the halfway line and exchanged passes with Akinade before dribbling past Ciaran McGuigan to fire high into the roof of the net.
Their lead was to only last ten minutes as Drogheda manager Damien Richardson introduced defender Paul Andrews as a striker and the substitute scored after a couple of minutes as he prodded Daire Doyle’s cross beyond McGuinness.
Alan Mathews’ side were reduced to ten men on 79 minutes as Akinade was adjudged to have deliberately caught Gavin Brennan with a flailing arm and it went from bad to worse as Shane O’Connor was dismissed three minutes later for a high challenge on goal scorer Andrews.
The Boynesiders almost scraped a winner late on but McGuinness was once again equal to Declan O’Brien’s header much to the frustration of the home crowd as Bray move four points clear of the relegation/promotion playoff position.
Drogheda United: Michéal Schlingermann; Daire Doyle, Alan McNally, Ciaran McGuigan, Roy Kierans; Adam Wixted (Paul Andrews 71), Gavan Holohan, Stephen Maher (Carl Walshe 65), Mick Daly, Gavin Brennan; Declan O’Brien.
Subs not used: Dylan Connolly (gk), Dale Harding, Dominic Mahon, Fionn Reilly, Ciaran O’Connor.
Booked: Gavan Holohan (77), Paul Andrews (88), Gavin Brennan (90)
Bray Wanderers: Stephen McGuinness; Niall Cooney, David Webster, Adam Mitchell, Shane O’Connor; Adam Hanlon, Dean Zambra, Graham Kelly (David Scully 80), Jake Kelly, David Cassidy; Ismihal Akinade.
Subs not used: Gavin Sheridan, Shane O’Neill, Eric McGill, Gareth McDonagh, Robert Maloney, Philly Hughes.
Booked: Philly Hughes (78), David Webster (90)
Sent off: Ismahil Akinade (78), Shane O’Connor (82)
Referee: Padraigh Sutton
Attendance: 750 (Estimate)
Extratime.ie Man of the Match: Alan McNally (Drogheda United)