Brendan Graham reports from the Carlisle Grounds
Bray Wanderers and Waterford played out a very entertaining 0-0 draw at the Carlisle Grounds tonight with both defences holding firm on the night.
Although rain threatened to arrive for the duration of the dart journey down to the seaside town, it stayed away and with the sun actually making an appearance upon arrival we were treated to perfect conditions for a game of football.
And it was a decent crowd at the Carlisle Grounds considering the unfortunate clash with a certain World Cup game between Spain and Portugal.
It was the away side who settled into the game quicker and enjoyed the majority of possession in the opening minutes, with Izzy Akinade looking sharp up front alongside Courtney Duffus.
Waterford put a lot of pressure on the Bray back four in the opening stages with plenty of set pieces but nothing to really trouble or worry Evan Moran.
The home side found it difficult to get the ball out of their own half and it took almost 15 minutes for Bray to carve out their first real chance of the game and it came through Craig Walsh.
The midfielder, who this week signed from Crumlin United, was falling over as he connected with the ball and blazed it over the bar.
Minutes later and Matthew Connor in the Waterford goal was tested for the first time as lively winger Cory Galvin came into the box from the left and showed fantastic technique to smash the ball on the half volley towards goal forcing Connor to punch the ball away and out for a corner.
Bray, to their credit, weathered the storm and the huge pressure that was sent their way in the opening half an hour and settled into the game and relieve the pressure on the back four more and more as the half wore on.
Waterford hit back with chances of their own as half time approached through Rory Feely and Duffus.
Moran scuffed his clearance straight to the feet of Akinade, who played the ball square to Duffus, but he didn’t catch his attempted shot properly and gave Moran an easy save.
Feely followed this up minutes later with an ambitious effort from distance forcing Moran to tip the ball over the bar and make sure to avoid an embarrassment as the opening half came to a close.
The Seagulls should have taken the lead at the end of the first half when Connor dropped the ball at the feet of Walsh close to goal but he was unable to sort his feet out, giving the keeper enough time to recover and leave the teams level at half time.
The second half began as the first ended with both sides having a great battle in midfield but snuffing each other out.
Duffus took the first chance of the second half, turning inside and striking a low shot at goal. Moran saw it late and the ball bounced off his chest and into the path of Akinade, but he couldn’t react quick enough to take advantage.
Waterford fans were keeping up to date with happenings around the country, and knowing Pats and Derry City were losing in their games had the fans discussing how crucial a win could be.
Any point they would take home from the seaside would be hard earned with Bray very solid in their shape around the pitch and battling for everything on the pitch.
A certain number seven had a hat trick to his name in Russia by the time Waterford number seven Sander Puri stood up to a free kick 25 yards from goal.
Similar technique was on show from Puri but he smacked the ball straight into the wall just ahead of him, to the disappointment of the away fans.
Waterford pushed for a winner and put Bray under immense pressure as they looked to secure what would be a vital three points, looking at other results.
Waterford’s night was summed up as the game entered the 90th minute. O’Halloran sent a delightful cross into the box for Akinade but he timed his jump completely wrong and blazed the ball over the bar when he was free right in front of goal.
Bray had a chance of their own to win the game through Daniel Kelly. In what was one of their only chances in the second half Kelly found himself on the end of a perfectly weighted through ball by Craig Walsh.
He composed himself and drove a shot towards Connor’s far corner but the ball fizzed just over the top to ensure the game would finish with no goals and the points shared.
Bray Wanderers: Evan Moran, Sean Harding, Rhys Gorman, Sean Heaney, Kevin Lynch, Dan McKenna, Paul O’Connor, Craig Walsh, Daniel Kelly, Cory Galvin (Jake Kelly 90), Ronan Coughlan.
Subs not used: Mark O’Connor (gk), Ger Pender, Jake Ellis, Dragos Mamaliga, Cian Walsh, Calvin Rogers.
Waterford: Matthew O’Connor, Sander Puri, Derek Daly, Dylan Barnett, Kenny Browne, Rory Feely, Bastian Hery, John Martin (Dean Walsh 82), Gavin Holohan (Dean O’Halloran 40), Ismahil Akinade, Courtney Duffus
Subs not used: Niall Corbet (gk), John Kavanagh, Adam Conway, Justin Croke, Colm Whelan.
Booked: Bastian Hery (36), Dylan Barnett (53).
Referee: Rob Hennessey.
Extratime.ie Player of the Match: Corey Galvin (Bray Wanderers).