Gareth Danaher reports from the Carlisle Grounds
Bray Wanderers knocked Wexford out of the EA Sports Cup First Round by the odd goal in five on a cold Monday night at the Carlisle Grounds.
It was a chilly evening for a match to say the least but both sides battled well in the early stages. It took twenty minutes for the opening chance, created by Luka Lovic of Bray who darted down the middle of the park, stepped inside the Wexford defence and triggered a shot at Chambers in the Wexford goal.
Sean Callan saw himself booked on 24 minutes as he took down Derek Daly of Bray and he was lucky the referee didn’t point to the spot as it was just inside the penalty area. He did however award Bray a free kick. Daly stood up and tucked his effort under the wall and comfortably into the bottom right corner of the Wexford goal for his first goal for the Seagulls.
Wexford looked to pounce back from the restart with a long ball forward which was recovered by Hayden in the Bray goal. He lobbed a ball towards Dylan McGlade who ran at the Wexford defence before back-heeling it to Dylan Barnett who’s strike took a deflection off McCormack and leaped over Chambers to give Bray a two-nil lead.
Nika Arevadze sprinted down the touchline to try and get Wexford back on track but the brick wall Sean Heaney was there to stop his efforts. Jack Doherty also tried to get the better of ‘keeper Hayden but lobbed his free kick straight at him.
The home side made it three on the half hour when new signing Dylan McGlade fired home from the penalty spot, but Wexford Manager Brian O’Sullivan must of have put some fire in his players’ bellies at half time as they came out with a renewed sense of energy for the second half.
Ryan Nolan driove a free kick past Chambers and into the top left corner from 30 yards out and, just four minutes after the restart, Wexford were on the come back trail.
Wexford’s had nothing to lose and fought hard for a second goal, the ball pinging around the park for the last fifteen minutes of the gamet. But with five minutes until the final whistle young Jake Ellis for Bray was played in by Lovic. Ellis sprinted away from his marker and, one-on-one with the keeper, slotted it wide.
That would have ended the contest emphatically but Wexford did pull back a consolation goal with a minute to spare. Sean Roche slotted an effort into the bottom left corner from just inside the area after the Bray defence couldn’t scramble the ball away.
And so, the County Wicklow side advance into the Second Round of the EA Sports Cup while Wexford headed home knowing League Cup glory must wait for at least another year.
Bray Wanderers: Adam Hayden; Luke Nolan, Hughie Douglas (Killian Cantwell 71), Dylan Barnett, Sean Heaney (Cian Walsh 81), Dylan McGlade (Cian Maher 86), Derek Daly, Jake Ellis, Luka Lovic, Brandon McCann, Richie Purdy.
Subs not used: Gabriel Sava (gk), Andrew McGovern, Paul Keegan, Glen Hollywood.
Booked: Hugh Douglas (42).
Wexford FC: Corey Chambers; Lee Costello, Owen McCormack, Nika Arevadze, Paddy Cahill, Jack Doherty (Emmanual Lawal 73), Emmet Nugent, Danny Doyle (Sean Roche 68), Ryan Nolan, Thomas Croke, Sean Callan.
Subs not used: Joe Walshe (gk), Darragh O’Connor, Liam McCartan, Sean Kelly, Torik Adegoke.
Booked: Nika Arevadze (71).
Referee: Alan Carey.
Extratime.ie Man of The Match: Luke Nolan (Bray Wanderers).