Date: 7:45 p.m. Oct. 2, 2009
Venue: Terryland Park
Att: 750 (est)
With trips to both Sligo and Drogheda on the not-too-distant horizon, this was a game that the home side needed to win, and they produced a solid performance in capturing the spoils. Six home wins is a distinct turnaround in fortunes for the Westerners, and tonight they had the lively pairing of Greene and Vinny Faherty to thank.
Both sides made two changes following recent defeats. Galway made one forced and one tactical swap, as Derek O'Brien replaced Dave Cooke in midfield, while Aaron Greene replaced Gary Breen as Ian Foster reverted to two up front and placed Sean Kelly alongside Seamus Conneely at the heart of the defence. Bray's switches were Stephen Brennan and Daire Doyle coming in for Jake Kelly and Derek Foran.
United almost made the perfect start as John Russell got on the end of a decent move after less then two minutes and rifled in a low shot with his weaker left foot that whistled along the turf but met timber instead of netting with Chris O'Connor well beaten.
Galway's lack of effort and commitment had been singled out by Ian Foster as the main factor behind their heavy loss to Dundalk, and the early industry of Greene and Vinny Faherty indicated that the players were keen to avoid similar censure.
Bray copied Galway's three man centre midfield, with only John Flood in an advanced position as Gareth Coughlan and Gary McCabe tried to assist from the flanks. They struggled, though, in the swirling wind and rain and the home side had the lead goal on 15 minutes, when Faherty latched onto an O'Brien pass and crossed accurately for Greene to rise well and nod into the bottom right hand corner.
Bray's efforts in response amounted to a Gary McCabe shot and Chris Shields header, both of which flew harmlessly over the bar. United doubled their advantage on the half hour mark when Russell's cross from the right evaded O'Brien's leap, but Faherty was on hand to recover the situation and he cut back for Greene to net his third goal of the season with an angled left foot strike beyond O'Connor.
Memories at this point centred on a comfortable 3-0 home win when the sides previously met here. Eddie Gormley, sensing a change was needed, threw on John Mulroy for Flood, and while it wasn't the most positive move, Mulroy posed a different problem for Kelly and Conneely with his pace. Within three minutes of his arrival, Bray had snatched a goal back.
From McCabe's corner from the right, the ball dropped invitingly for Dave Mulcahy, whose shot looked unlikely to find the net before Dane Massey nipped in to steer it passed Ryan. Game on, and the sides could well have been level but for a smashing challenge from Paul Sinnott on Chris Shields after Mulroy looked to have set him away with a cleverly disguised pass. The challenge from behind needed to be accurate, and Sinnott did well to flick away the ball without clattering Shields in the process.
The unfortunate Mulroy had to retire injured early in the second half, as Paul Byrne came into the fray. Galway, after a tentative opening few minutes reminiscent of the closing stages against St. Pat's, suddenly created two clear-cut chances to add a third. Twice breaking the frail Wanderers offside trap, Greene and Faherty snatched at glorious chances; O'Connor saving Greene's effort with his legs.
Russell then went close, steadying himself on the edge of the area, but his strike was deflected behind for a corner. Byrne headed wide at the other end before McCabe tested Ryan with a decent strike that forced him to gather at the second attempt.
The game was a very open affair as Galway pushed forward in search of a game-breaking third goal, giving Bray ample opportunity to counter attack. In the greasy conditions, though, their touch and passing was slightly off and Conneely marshalled the United defence with calm assuredness for the most part.
United have not been a side to follow, though, if you prefer to sit through the last twenty minutes of a game where a winning hand is held in relative comfort. Given the gravity of Bray's plight, too, urgency was now expected from The Seagulls.
It was Foster's men who crafted the next attack of note, though, as O'Brien ran onto Murphy's ball down the line and crossed for Greene who got free at the back post but couldn't wrap his foot around the cross and fired wide.
United then sealed the three points with another well taken goal with seven minutes remaining when O'Brien floated in a deep cross which Faherty, grabbing his third assist of the night, nodded sweetly back for Russell to head beyond O'Connor. Bray persisted in search of a lifeline in the closing stages, even sending O'Connor forward for a late corner, but with no reward.
Galway United: Barry Ryan: Paul Sinnott, Seamus Conneely, Sean Kelly, Mark O'Toole; Derek O'Brien, John Russell, Alan Murphy, Cian McBrien (Dave Cooke, 57); Vinny Faherty, Aaron Greene.
Subs not Used: Ger Hanley, Jason Molloy, Shane Fitzgerald, John Sangi.
Bray Wanderers: Chris O'Connor; Derek Pender, Dave Mulcahy, Chris Deans, Dane Massey; Gary McCabe, Daire Doyle, Chris Shields, Stephen Brennan, Gareth Coughlan (Jake Kelly, 67); John Flood (John Mulroy, 35 (Paul Byrne, 52).
Subs not Used: Brian Kane, David Webster.
Referee: Damien Hancock.
extratime.ie Man of the Match: Vinny Faherty - involved in all three goals.