Date: 7:45 p.m. March 3, 2017
Venue: Carlisle Grounds
Ref: Anthony Buttimer
Att: 1,117

Anthony Flood 9' -
Scored: 9'

Gary McCabe 20' -
Peno Scored: 20'

Aaron Greene 43' -
Scored: 43'

Gary McCabe 59' -
Scored: 59'

Dylan Connolly 68' -
Scored: 68'

Scored: 33'
- Ciaran O'Connor 33'

Scored: 48'
- Ciaran O'Connor 48'

Scored: 75'
- Ethan Boyle 75'

League Report: Bray Wanderers 5 - 3 Finn Harps

Fri, Mar 03 2017

Gary McCabe was on target twice on Friday Credit: Darragh Connolly

Bray Wanderers made it two from two in the Premier Division this season as they came out 5-3 winners in a chaotic and controversial clash with Finn Harps at the Carlisle Grounds.


Gary McCabe scored twice, while Anto Flood, Aaron Greene and Dylan Connolly also netted for the Seagulls, while Ciaran O'Connor and Ethan Boyle scored for Harps either side of a Peter Cherrie own goal.


To go 2-0 down within 20 minutes appeared unduly harsh upon the visitors, who had set up well and had their fair share of possession. Bray hit the front with their first real chance of the game.


Dylan Connolly was awarded a free kick on the edge of the box for what appeared to be minimal contact from Ethan Boyle, and Damien McNulty had a better claim for a free out as Flood shoved him to win the preceding flick-on.


However, Ciaran Gallagher should have held McCabe's relatively benign cross from the resulting set-piece, and while O'Connor did well to block Hugh Douglas' shot, Flood was never going to miss as he shot high into the net from 10 yards.


O'Connor had a great chance to level things up five minutes later as Caolan McAleer's left-wing cross was flicked to the back post, but the on-loan Dundalk striker hit fresh air with his attempted volley, and the follow-up from a wider angle was smothered by Cherrie.


The game's second controversy arrived minutes later as a Greene cross was charged down by Michael Funston and, again, referee Anthony Buttimer sided with the home team and adjudged the Harps man to have handled, though he appeared to be outside the box in any case.


McCabe slotted home the spot-kick to put the Seagulls two the good – the same two scorers as the opening night's win over St Patrick's Athletic, and seemingly cruising.


To their credit, Harps refused to sit back and feel sorry for themselves, and they worked their way back into the match when the always-lively McAleer won a free kick wide on the left after drawing a clumsy foul from Douglas.


Jonny Bonner's free kick curled in and rebounded off Cherrie's far post, and O'Connor was on hand to stab the ball home to give Ollie Horgan's side an unlikely foothold back in the game.


They couldn't maintain that foothold until half-time, however, as they were slow to push out after McNulty headed clear a corner, and Kevin Lynch found captain Conor Kenna wide on the right.


His inch-perfect ball found Greene on the burst into the box and the winger powered an unstoppable header past the flailing Gallagher to send Bray in at the break with the two-goal lead restored.


Harps were the better side on the resumption, however, and they deservedly cut the lead to one within three minutes as the impressive O'Connor turned Tim Clancy and arrowed a close-range shot at Cherrie.


The Scottish keeper deflected the ball high up into the air and appeared to have the second ball covered, but under pressure from Sean Houston he fumbled the ball into the net to make it 3-2.


Soon it was all Harps as the visitors flooded forward in search of an equaliser, and Cantwell saw his shot deflected wide before McAleer showed great balance to let the ball roll across his body and shoot from the edge of the box only to see his shot just clear the crossbar.


Then arrived the game's third flashpoint as Gallagher came out to clear a through-ball on the edge of his box. The keeper cleared the danger but clashed heads with Connolly, remaining on the ground in visible distress.


Referee Buttimer allowed play to continue and, with some of the Harps players having stopped, McCabe was left with the simple task of rolling the ball into an empty net for his second and Bray's fourth.


The concussed Gallagher was replaced by Ireland under-21 keeper Harry Doherty, and the winter signing from Cockhill Celtic was to become a busy man, and was unfortunate to see his save at the feet of Connolly break for the winger to make it five for the Seagulls.


Once again, Harps roared back and they cut the deficit to 5-3 when Paddy McCourt first won and then delivered a corner to the head of Boyle, who rose unchallenged to head in off the post.


The remaining 15 minutes was hectic as Harps poured forward in search of a goal to force a nervy finish, but the Seagulls made hay on the counter and Doherty pulled off a wonderful series of saves to deny Connolly and McCabe twice as the midfielder sought a hat-trick.


Flood was desperately unlucky to see his delicate chip just clear the crossbar and nestle on the roof of the net in injury time to bring a match of endless talking points to a breathless conclusion.



Bray Wanderers: Peter Cherrie; Hugh Douglas, Tim Clancy, Conor Kenna, Kevin Lynch; John Sullivan, Keith Buckley (Mark Salmon 66) , Gary McCabe (Karl Moore 90+1); Aaron Greene, Dylan Connolly, Anthony Flood.

Subs not used: Lee Steacy (gk), Derek Foran, Jamie Aherne, Jason Marks, Ryan Brennan.

Booked: Douglas (78), Salmon (88).


Finn Harps: Ciaran Gallagher (Harry Doherty 61); Ethan Boyle, Damien McNulty, Killian Cantwell, Ciaran Coll; Barry Molloy (Gareth Harkin 73), Jonny Bonner, Sean Houston, Michael Funston (Paddy McCourt 63), Caolan McAleer; Ciaran O'Connor.

Subs not used: Packie Mailey, Thomas McMonagle, Danny Morrissey, Eddie Dsane.

Booked: O'Connor (26), Molloy (36).


Referee: Anthony Buttimer.

Attendance: 1,117 Player of the Match: Caolan McAleer (Finn Harps).



Bray Wanderers
Peter Cherrie
Tim Clancy
Hugh Douglas
78Booked: 78'
Conor Kenna
Kevin Lynch
Keith Buckley
66Subbed Off: 66'
Dylan Connolly
68Scored: 68'
Gary McCabe
20Peno: 20'
59Scored: 59'
90Subbed Off: 90'
John Sullivan
Anthony Flood
9Scored: 9'
Aaron Greene
43Scored: 43'

Jamie Aherne
Ryan Brennan
Derek Foran
Jason Marks
Karl Moore
90Subbed On: 90'
Mark Salmon
66Subbed On: 66'
88Booked: 88'
Lee Steacy
Finn Harps
Ciaran Gallagher
Goalkeeper 61'
61Subbed Off: 61'
Killian Cantwell
Ciaran Coll
Damien McNulty
Barry Molloy
36Booked: 36'
73Subbed Off: 73'
Jonny Bonner
Ethan Boyle
75Scored: 75'
Michael Funston
Midfielder 63'
63Subbed Off: 63'
Sean Houston
Caolan McAleer
Ciaran O'Connor
26Booked: 26'
33Scored: 33'
48Scored: 48'

Harry Doherty
61Subbed On: 61'
Eddie Dsane
Gareth Harkin
73Subbed On: 73'
Packie Mailey
Paddy McCourt
63Subbed On: 63'
Thomas McMonagle
Danny Morrissey

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