Date: 7:45 p.m. Oct. 20, 2009
Venue: Carlisle Grounds
Att: 450 (est)
Eddie Gormley’s side looked like they were going to keep pace with the Boynesiders in the race to avoid the automatic relegation spot when they took the lead through Jake Kelly from the penalty spot before the hour-mark. However, with 16 minutes remaining, Bray failed to heed a warning which Michael McGowan gave them with a stinging 30-yard free-kick which was pushed wide by Chris O’Connor, and from the resulting corner, Daly prodded home to extend his side’s draw sequence to four games.
Dundalk went into the game without suspended trio, club captain Thomas Heary, top scorer Chris Turner and versatile Kevin McKinlay. As a result, Sean Connor chose to start with Michael Coburn in central defence while Darren Mansaram took up position on the left wing. Simon Kelly and Paul McAreavey also returned to the starting lineup. In extremely difficult conditions, the opening half failed to produce much in the way of clear-cut chances. Dundalk’s only one came on 12 minutes when McGowan, after being released by a clever Ger Rowe pass, cut inside his man in the box before scuffing an effort which was easily gathered, while at the other end, Paul Byrne headed off target from close range.
After the break, however, it was a different story, and Bray went close to breaking the deadlock on 51 minutes in a lively opening to the second half. A Jake Kelly corner was met by Dave Mulcahy but, although his header beat Peter Cherrie, Shaun Kelly was on hand to clear off the line. Just six minutes later, though, the hosts were awarded a penalty when Dave Webster’s cross hit the arm of Liam Burns. It was the second spot kick that had been given against Dundalk at the seaside venue this term, and, just like back in April, Kelly made no mistake with the finish as he buried a powerful shot beyond Cherrie.
Void of ideas in attack, it looked like Dundalk were heading for a first defeat since losing at Bohemians six games ago as they threatened rarely, although they did have the ball in the Bray net on 67 minutes when Mansaram powered a fine header past O’Connor only for the linesman to indicate that he was offside. McGowan then warmed the palms of the Bray no1 when his fierce long-range free-kick was pushed around the post, but the Australian ‘keeper's efforts were in vein as the Lilywhites scored from the resulting corner, which was bundled in by Daly. At the other end, former Dundalk defender Derek Pender threatened a response with a 25-yard effort which skimmed the crossbar, but neither side could find a late winner, with the Oriel Park outfit now on their longest run of draws in the Premier Division since March 1994.
BRAY WANDERERS AFC (4-4-2): Chris O'Connor; Derek Pender, Dave Webster, Chris Deans, Daire Doyle; Colm Tresson (Chris Shields 81), Stephen Brennan (Gareth Coughlan 90), Dave Mulcahy, Jake Kelly; Paul Byrne, John Flood (John Mulroy 85).
Unused Subs: Brian Kane (GK), Dane Massey.
DUNDALK FC (4-4-2): Peter Cherrie; Shaun Kelly, Liam Burns, Michael Coburn, Simon Kelly (Nathan Murphy 65); Michael McGowan, Paul McAreavey, Michael Daly, Darren Mansaram; Alex Williams, Ger Rowe.
Unused Subs: Chris Bennion (GK), Tiarnán Mulvenna, Michael McGinlay, Martin McGowan.
Referee: Dave McKeon (Meath).