It was a tale of two penalties - one missed and one scored - at the Carlisle Grounds as Bray Wanderers twice came from behind to draw 2-2 with league leaders Galway United.
It was a highly-entertaining encounter between two sides who hadn't conceded a goal prior to this game. Galway seemed to have wrapped up the three points but a late surge by Wanderers helped them get a point and end United's one hundred percent start to the season.
Galway took the lead with only eight minutes gone. Jay O'Shea's corner from the left was headed back across goal by Shane Guthrie at the far post and Vinny Faherty stooped down to head the ball in from five yards out.
Bray almost hit back instantly. Only a minute after the Galway goal, Chris Deans' floated free from 35-yards was headed goalward from the penalty spot by Dave Mulcahy. His header left Barry Ryan stranded but it clipped the crossbar and went over.
However, it was only a matter of time as the Seagulls did equalise in the 16th minute through Patrick Kavanagh. Dane Massey passed the ball to Jake Kelly in the left corner and he crossed into the centre. Kavanagh arrived unmarked and headed the ball past Ryan into the left-hand corner of the Galway net.
Bray were level for all of five minutes before the Tribesmen retook the lead through Cian McBrien. McBrien collected the ball from Derek O'Brien on the left and ran inside towards the Bray box. After going past Deans, he hit a right-footed shot from the edge of the area that sailed past Chris O'Connor.
Galway nearly extended their lead on 28 minutes when O'Connor was forced into a double save. Seamus Connelly crossed from the right and Derek Foran's sliced clearance fell on the edge of the area. Michael McGrath volleyed the ball from there but his effort was struck into the ground and nearly looped into the goal only for O'Connor to make an exceptional save to keep the ball out. The ball then fell to Faherty but his header from six yards was calmly saved by O'Connor.
The second half matched the first for entertainment and, on 57 minutes, Gary McCabe had a chance for the hosts. After dribbling down the left wing, he cut inside and shot from the corner of the box, forcing Ryan into a smart save at the near post.
In the 63rd minute, Galway should have extended their lead. O'Shea lifted the ball over the Bray defence for Faherty who collected the ball on the goal-line. He pulled it back for McBrien who side-footed wide from six-yards.
In the 72nd minute, Galway had another clear-cut opportunity. McBrien played a through-ball for sub Shane Fitzgerald who ran through on goal. After rounding a defender and the keeper, the ball seemed to get stuck between his feet, allowing Foran enough time to get back and block Fitzgerald's final effort.
There was a frantic end to the game as Bray had several chances to draw level. On 78 minutes, a McCabe corner from the left was flicked on by John Mulroy at the near post. His effort flew across the face of goal and wide of the far post.
In a frenetic two-minute spell, the hosts were awarded two penalties. The first was given on 88 minutes when Garry Breen was adjudged to have handled Jake Kelly's 30-yard drive. McCabe stepped up and slotted the ball into the bottom-right corner.
Two minutes later, a second penalty was awarded when Iarfhlaith Davoren pushed McCabe over inside the box. McCabe again took the spot-kick and went the same way only for the alert Ryan to guess right and push the ball away.
In the end, Galway will be thankful for getting a point out of this one when they could easily have lost it in the final moments. Bray can be encouraged after a good second-half performance and finally getting their first goals of the season. Bray will travel to face Cork City in their next game while Galway will host Sligo Rovers in the Connaught derby next Friday.
Bray Wanderers: Chris O'Connor; Derek Pender, Derek Foran, Chris Deans, Dane Massey; Gary McCabe, Dave Mulcahy, Stephen Brennan, Jake Kelly; Paddy Kavanagh (John Mulroy 45+3), Darren Forsyth (John Flood 7 (Colm Tresson, 86)).
Subs not used: Brian Kane (gk), Daire Doyle.
Bookings: Deans (26), Mulcahy (44), Foran (45), Mulroy (62).
Galway United: Barry Ryan; Seamus Connelly, Garry Breen, Shane Guthrie, Iarfhlaith Davoren; Jay O'Shea, Cian McBrien, Derek O'Brien, Michael McGrath (Alan Murphy, 76), Sean Kelly (Shane Fitzgerald, 69); Vinny Faherty (Declan Edwards 83).
Subs not used: Ger Hanley (gk), Paul Sinnott.
Booked: McBrien (33), O'Brien (56), Guthrie (90+1).
Referee: Neil Doyle.
Attendance: 1000 (estimate).
Extratime.ie Man of the Match: Gary McCabe (Bray Wanderers) - a strong second-half performance from the Bray winger helped his side earn a point.