Crumlin United secured a shock 4-2 victory over Bray Wanderers in the first round of the EA Sports Cup after a dramatic game at Pearse Park.
Martin Loughran's Leinster Senior League side secured a famous win over League of Ireland opposition thanks to first-half goals from Kevin Dempsey and James Lee, and a second half brace from Greg Moorehouse. Bray had taken the lead through Ryan McEvoy after only seven minutes, but it was the only time they held it as Crumlin battled back – despite conceding an equaliser to Graham Kelly – to book a place in the second round of the League Cup.
There were standout performances from winger Alan McGreal, midfielder John Sullivan and half-time sub Paddy Cannon, but ultimately it will be striker Greg Moorehouse's two goal salvo which will be remembered as being decisive.
Crumlin came into this game on the back of a 3-1 win over Tolka Rovers after extra-time in the Metropolitan Cup – a victory which ensured the LSL side remained involved in five different cup competitions ahead of the game with Bray.
Bray started the contest in the perfect fashion, taking the lead after seven minutes. Peter Durrad dropped deep to collect the ball. The striker turned and fed the overlapping Ryan McEvoy who finished crisply to the right of Crumlin 'keeper, Dave Meehan.
Crumlin tried to get back into the game immediately, winger Alan McGreal whipping in a cross that would have been dangerous but was too close to Wanderers 'keeper, Brian Kane.
Kane was playing his first competitive game for Bray since departing the club for Malahide United in 2013– and in the 13th minute it almost went horribly wrong for the returning stopper. McGreal swung in a corner which went straight through his hands – but thankfully for Kane, it went wide of the far post for another corner, which McEvoy duly headed clear.
Bray should have doubled their lead in the 24th minute, with Durrad again playing provider. He pulled Ross Carrig out of position to free up space for the onrushing Graham Kelly – Durrad laid it off but Kelly screwed his shot wide. The play flew back up the other end, with Kane almost caught out again – far from home, the livewire McGreal looked to tap in from the right side of the box, but Hugh Douglas was on hand to clear.
However, Crumlin found an equaliser in the 25th minute. Bray centre-back and skipper Adam Mitchell put in a clumsy tackle on McGreal in the box and Kevin Dempsey – goalscorer last year against Drogheda United – converted with minimum fuss.
Crumlin pressed forward then, James Lee rattling the crossbar with a fierce drive from 25 yards. However, the Crumlin United midfielder was not to be denied as he gave the home side a shock lead in the 29th minute. Goalscorer Dempsey crossed from the right and Lee rose highest to head past the stranded Kane, much to the fury of Matthews on the sideline.
Bray stormed right back, eventually equalising through Graham Kelly in the 33rd minute from a David Scully set-piece delivery. Kelly almost doubled his personal tally just before half-time when he cut inside to shoot, but his effort flew harmlessly wide of Meehan's post.
Crumlin almost re-took the lead in the 57th minute when the Bray backline made a mess of dealing with a speculative long ball. The ball eventually fell to half-time substitute Paddy Cannon, who produced a wonderfully controlled side footed effort from outside the box – the home fans were screaming goal, but it hit the face of the post with Kane beaten.
This jolted Bray, who immediately sought to gain control by fashioning three chances in three minutes. First, Kelly hit the woodwork as a ball from the right-wing fell kindly for him in the box. Then it was Scully's turn to have a pop, dropping the shoulder on the edge of the box to turn and shoot, but Meehan was equal to it. Finally, a McEvoy cross was met by the head of Durrad who should have done better than head over from six yards.
However, despite these chances, Bray fell behind again in the 68th minute. Cannon fed Greg Moorehouse down the inside right channel and the striker calmly slotted the ball past the onrushing Kane intro the bottom corner.
Matthews brought on Peter McGlynn to try and get back into the game, but Crumlin almost made the game safe with eight minutes left. Cannon, taking the role of chief tormentor since his introduction at half-time, latched onto a long ball down the right flank – but Kane did well to tip his powerful half volley over the bar.
It didn't matter as Crumlin put it to bed with two minutes left in normal time. Substitute Brian Mooney got away down the right flank and crossed – Moorehouse was unmarked at the backpost, and he volleyed the ball home in spectacular fashion to book Crumlin's passage to the next round.
Crumlin United: Dave Meehan; Kevin Dempsey, Ross Carrig, Thomas Hyland, Ciaran Nangle; Ian Tuohy (Brian Mooney, 75), James Lee (Paddy Cannon, 46), John Sullivan, Alan McGreal; Ger Rowe, Greg Moorehouse.
Subs not used: Michael Quinn (gk), Leon Johnson, John Goonery, Barry Slattery, Chris Straessle.
Bookings: Rowe (33), Carrig (54), Moorehouse (69).
Bray Wanderers: Brian Kane; Niall Cooney (Michael Barker, 46), Adam Mitchell, Hugh Douglas, Daniel O'Reilly; David Scully, Ryan McEvoy, Luke Gallagher, Graham Kelly, Jack Memery (Chris Lyons, 79); Peter Durrad (Peter McGlynn, 72).
Subs not used: Stephen McGuinness (gk), Alan McNally, Gareth McDonagh, Emika Onwubiko.
Bookings: Mitchell (82).
Referee: Paul Tuite.
Attendance: 100 (estimate),
Extratime Man of the Match: Greg Moorehouse (Crumlin United).