Goals from Hugh Douglas and Dave Scully saw Bray Wanderers through the challenge of LSL side Killester United to reach the semi-finals of the Irish Daily Mail FAI Cup on Friday night.
In the very early stages of this game there were no obvious clues to the fact that one of these teams sat considerably higher up the football totem pole than the other. Killester United, of the Leinster Senior League, were both confident and accomplished in their approach and a finely weighted forty-yard pass by Philip Hand almost found right winger Michael Keogh behind the Bray line after just three minutes. Then, Keogh executed a perfect back-heel to get himself and his team out of trouble one minute later.
But a Ryan McEvoy corner after six minutes found the head of Bray full back Hugh Douglas and he drove the ball powerfully past Keith Donoghue in the Killester goal to give the Premier Division side the lead,
Despite the set back Killester continued to play to a high standard but as the rhythm of the game established itself Bray looked that bit quicker, stronger and more fluid in possession of the ball. For all that that had to wait until the 25th minute for another sniff at goal when McEvoy’s free sailed over the expectant Douglas and on to Alan McNally who screwed his header wide of the far post from seven yards out.
One minute later Killester had a great chance to draw level. Michael Keogh released lone striker David Lacey with a superb through ball and when the ball was delivered back into the centre Keogh met it with a shot that pinged back off the base of Peter Cherrie’s left hand post. Lacey got onto the rebound but his effort was blocked by Cherrie and the moment was gone.
In the final ten minutes of the half Scully had two attempts on goal but neither hit the target. In between these Killester had an altogether more promising opportunity when Alan Talbot played Lacey through the middle, but with only the ‘keeper to beat the striker’s low shot cannoned off Cherrie’s legs and away to safety.
Both sides created chances after the restart with Bray’s McEvoy pulling a shot comfortably wide on 48 minutes and Michael Barker ending a powerful run with a pot shot from all of 30 yards that just slipped beyond the far post. Killester responded by playing in Lacey who was only repelled by fine defending from Douglas. Then Lacey nudged a ball left to Talbot who hesitated fatally before scooping over as the space around him closed.
Bray’s second came in the 57th minute and if it lacked a certain grace it was nonetheless effective. A high, looping cross from David Cassidy wide on the left descended almost vertically at the back post where the waiting David Scully headed home unchallenged from close range.
The Seagulls might have extended their lead on 69 minutes when the tireless Chris Lyons jinked outside his man before firing in an angled shot that struck the centre of the crossbar before rebounding away.
As the game edged into the final 20 minutes it seemed less and less likely that Killester might rescue themselves. They emptied their bench in an attempt to find a game changing formula but the home side remained resolute.
With five minutes to play Lyons should have removed any remaining doubt when he was played through the middle but the covering defender managed to knock him off his stride without drawing the foul and keeper Donoghue collected the loose ball.
Killester’s Keogh was denied the goal his performance deserved when Cherrie got behind his low shot with just four minutes left but Mick Cooke’s men played the clock down effectively and Cassidy was only denied a third by a fine tip-over from Donoghue in added time.
Bray Wanderers: Peter Cherrie; Hugh Douglas, Alan McNally, Niall Cooney, Michael Barker; Peter McGlynn, Graham Kelly, Ryan McEvoy, David Scully (Emeka Onwubiko 83); David Cassidy; Chris Lyons (Adam Wixted 89).
Subs not used: Sean Fogarty (gk), Daniel O’Reilly, Adam Mitchell, Gareth McDonagh, Luke Gallagher.
Booked: McEvoy (50).
Killester United: Keith Donoghue; Darren Kavanagh,Michael Kelly (FRancis Matthews 74), Adam McCormack, Philip Hand; Michael Keogh, Peter O’Reilly, Stephen Browning, Stephen Chambers (Eoin Mooney 79), Alan Talbot (David Lee 68); David Lacey.
Subs not used: Evan Whelan (gk), Dylan O’Driscoll, Shane Farrell, Peter McDonald.
Booked: McCormack (62), Lee (73), O’Reilly (84).
Referee: Ben Connolly.
Attendance: 600 (estimate)
Extratime Man of the Match: Hugh Douglas (Bray Wanderers).