Dean Zambra 50' -
Bray Wanderers closed their season with a single goal victory over Dundalk at the Carlisle Grounds on Friday night. Dean Zambra’s second half goal was enough to ensure the visitors left without a point.
On a chilly night beside the sea, both teams took a little while to settle into the game. Colm Tresson – the man who became the League of Ireland’s oldest ever scorer in Galway last weekend - forged the only early opportunity.
With ten minutes on the clock, the veteran broke on the right hand side. His low cross shot was nearly reached by Conor Early and Marty Waters but neither could quite get to it.
Johnny Breen was first to go close for the Lilywhites. The striker got on the end of a Ross Gaynor cross but could only head over the bar. Bray should have put themselves a goal up just minutes later.
Marty Waters was fouled as he rushed through the Dundalk rearguard but the referee waved play on as Adam Mitchell looked to make something of the advantage. Mitchell, straying from his position in defence, powered into the box but could not control his attempt on Peter Cherrie’s goal, sending it high over the bar.
Just before the half time break, Carl McHugh was found by a Greg Bolger delivery. Like Breen before him, McHugh cleared the cross bar.
Pat Devlin’s charges came out strongly after the break and went ahead within five minutes. Dane Massey was the foundation of a crisp move on the left, turning his man and setting Waters free. Waters then squared it and Zambra managed to force the ball over the line.
Only a minute later Dundalk tested Brian Kane. The keeper, once again standing in for the injured Darren Quigley, was equal to Mark Quigley’s shot. Dane Massey almost created another goal after 57 minutes. His clearance found Gary Shaw behind the Dundalk back four. Cherrie rushed out but Shaw tried to shoot around him from twenty odd yards out, missing the target.
Dean Bennett was next to head over for Ian Foster’s side. He met a Keith Ward corner but could not keep his effort inside the frame of the goal. Ward was involved again with twenty minutes to go. He found himself free in the Bray area and forced a smart save from Kane who tipped the ball over safely.
While Dundalk did push their hosts in the final period of the game, Bray stayed organised and resolute, restricting the chasing side to playing the ball across the midfield. The defeat may be a little hard on Dundalk who will feel that they could and should have taken home a point. For Bray though, the victory was the perfect end to a very successful season.
Bray Wanderers: Brian Kane; Adam Mitchell, Dane Massey, Derek Prendergast, Stephen Last (Shane O’Connor, 67); Gary Dempsey, Dean Zambra, Colm Tresson (Danny O’Connor, 73), Conor Early (Anthony Bolger, 63); Gary Shaw, Marty Waters.
Subs not used: Shane O’Neill, John Mulroy, Jake Kelly, Daire Doyle.
Dundalk: Peter Cherrie; Simon Madden, Carl McHugh, Cian Byrne (Jason Byrne, 60), Colin Hawkins; Greg Bolger, Ross Gaynor, Dean Bennett, Keith Ward; Johnny Breen (Bob McKenna, 73), Mark Quigley.
Subs not used: Paul Murphy, Nathan Murphy, Stephen McDonnell, Phillip Duffy, Conor McDonald.
Bookings: Bolger (23).
Referee: Alan Kelly.
Attendance: 400 (estimate).
Extratime.ie Man of the Match: Colm Tresson. He definitely still has it.