St. Patrick’s Athletic came away from the Carlisle Grounds with a narrow 1-0 win on Friday evening as Danny North’s 77th minute goal proved enough to hand Bray their third home defeat of the season.
Neither side really had the upper hand in the first half with both Wanderers and Pat’s sharing spells of good play, but dominance in possession didn't transfer to many chances. On 11 minutes Ian Bermingham’s long ball from defence found Daryl Kavanagh on his own out wide on the left. Kavanagh advanced goalward with intent, but the eventual shot was wide of the post.
Former Pat’s man Gary Dempsey continued his fine form of late in the Bray midfield, stringing passes together superbly as well as putting tackles in. He had a chance of his own after 15 minutes, with his free-kick forcing keeper Gary Rogers to punch the ball clear. Three minutes later North crossed for Derek Doyle to shoot from point blank range only for his shot to be cut out by Derek Prendergast and cleared from Bray lines.
After 28 minutes Bray had a penalty claim denied when a Danny O'Connor cross hit Paul Crowley. It seemed to strike his shoulder but referee Alan Kelly thought otherwise. On the stroke of half time Pat’s went close again. A low Anto Murphy cross-cum-shot was comfortably saved by Matt Gregg, but it was close to falling to the onrushing North.
The second half began in a similar fashion with neither side really getting a firm hold on play. Danny O'Connor shot well wide on 50 minutes after a nice exchange of passes between himself and Dempsey. The Saints went close after 67 minutes, but Evan McMillan should have done better with a header from a Stephen Bradley corner. A Murphy cross found Doyle in the Bray penalty area with his back to goal, but Bray were able to clear the ball before any supporting Pat’s players could be found.
The breakthrough came at last with 13 minutes remaining with what was the first shot on target of the half. Bradley played a long ball for Ian Bermingham to run on to, and North finished with a tap-in after the cross beat Gregg.
Jake Kelly forced a corner after 84 minutes, with his cross headed out by Pender, but Bray had their best chance to equalise a minute later. Dempsey struck the crossbar with a free-kick from about 25 yards out, and Prendergast headed across goal on the follow-up. Pat’s attempted to counter through North, who made a superb run with the ball upfield before his pass almost found Kavanagh in a good position. Bray were able to clear after a misplaced Murphy pass and resumed their search for an equaliser.
Pat’s showed their defensive qualities to clear away two successive Seagulls corners and substitute Graham Kelly shot wide from long-range a minute into stoppage time. A minute from the end Prendergast struck just over on the volley inside the Saints’ box. The penultimate incident of the night saw Adam Mitchell sent off, apparently for striking Bermingham, and with just seconds left Bray substitute Dan McGuinness shot just over, but the Saints were able to hold on to get a hard-fought win.
Bray Wanderers: Matt Gregg; Dave Webster, Dane Massey (Dan McGuiness 86), Adam Mitchell, Derek Prendergast; Gary Dempsey, John Mulroy (Shane O'Neill 69), Danny O'Connor, Chris Shields (Graham Kelly 72); Conor Murphy, Jake Kelly.
Subs not used: Brian Kane, Joe Kendrick, Dean Zambra, Daire Doyle.
Bookings: Conor Murphy (21).
Sendings Off: Adam Mitchell (94).
St. Patrick’s Athletic: Gary Rogers; Derek Pender, Ian Bermingham, Evan McMillan, Brian Shortall; Anto Murphy (Sean Stewart 86), Stephen Bradley, Derek Doyle, Paul Crowley; Daryl Kavanagh, Danny North (David McMillan 92).
Subs not used: Chris Bennion, Ian Daly, Jordan Keegan, Jake Carroll, Neil Harney.
Bookings: Stephen Bradley (79).
Referee: Alan Kelly (Cork).
Attendance: 1,300 (estimate).
extratime.ie Man of the Match: Ian Bermingham.