A great, open, attacking game ended two goals a piece on Monday night as a brace from Jason Byrne gave the Bray Wanderers a half time lead before Tony Cousin's Longford Town scored twice in the second half to keep this tie very much alive.
Dean Ebbe and David O'Sullivan were the men who bagged Longford’s goals which mean the tie is still very much in the balance for when these team's reconvene in four night's time in the City Calling Stadium.
After just three minutes Bray thought they had taken the lead when Jason Byrne smashed home from close range after the veteran striker was picked out by Kieran Marty Waters only for the goal to be ruled out for offside.
Longford were clearly in confident mood, cheered on by a strong away support as Gary Shaw tried the spectacular when he let fly with a first time forty yard chip attempt that just about managed to clear the crossbar of Darren Quigley
Bray did take the lead inside ten minutes when the old reliable Jason Byrne pounced on a rebound to head home from two yards out. The goal was somewhat fortunate for Byrne as Kevin O'Connor's effort which came back off the crossbar meant that Chris Bennion was in no position to deal with the dropping ball.
Bray should have been further in front when Jason Byrne attempted to punish some lack-lustre defending on Longford Town's part. The former Irish international played the ball back to Akinade who saw his shot well parried by Chris Bennion. The ball then came back to Gary Dempsey who could only watch in dismay as Waters accidentally got in the way of his goal bound effort, allowing Longford time to clear their lines.
Up at the other end Longford were looking to build momentum as Gavin Doyle let fly from all of 30 yards only for Darren Quigley to make a spectacular diving save.
Just after the half hour mark Bray had their second of the game when Jason Byrne reeled back the years to use his pace to get in behind the Longford defence and lob the ball over Chris Bennion to put Bray on their way.
Just three minutes into the second half Rhys Gorman nearly puled the away side back into this game but his header was saved from close range by Quigley.
As we approached the hour mark Jason Byrne continued his impressive performance with an acrobatic overhead kick from a Kieran Marty Waters corner, only for Longford to get enough bodies on the line to keep the score line at 2-0.
Longford did however get themselves right back into this game when Dean Ebbe slotted home from just inside the penalty area after Longford hoisted a hopeful ball forward. Ebbe managed to get in behind the Bray defence before taking the ball down and finishing past the onrushing Darren Quigley.
At this point the game was end to end as the sides exchanged blows with the game becoming a very open, fast-flowing affair. Marty Waters had the home support on their feet moments later when his cross was caught by the wind causing the ball to beat Chris Bennion. However, it ended up coming back of the upright before falling to Gary Dempsey who ultimately lost possession for the hosts.
With just seven minutes left in the game Longford completed the second half u-turn as the First Division's top scorer David O'Sullivan volleyed the ball past the diving Darren Quigley and into the corner of the Bray Wanderers net to send the travelling Town supporters into delirium.
Bray almost pulled level with just minutes to go as Jason Byrne got on the end of a Waters corner to head the ball just over Bennion's crossbar,
That was how it ended and the two teams must now go away and try to find a strategy to come out on top on Friday night when they will meet again in the 2nd Leg of this play off which will see either Bray get relegated or Longford get promoted.
Bray Wanderers: Darren Quigley, Daire Doyle, David Webster, Shane O'Connor, Dean Zambra (Conor Earley 38); Ismahil Akinade, Kevin O'Connor, Gary Dempsey, Kevin Maher (John Mulroy 72), Kieran Marty Waters; Jason Byrne.
Subs Not Used: Kevin Knight, Adam Mitchell, Eoin Hyland, Ryan Coombes, Shane Redmond.
Booked: K O'Connor (72).
Longford Town: Chris Bennion; Noel Haverty, Chris Deans, Des Hope (Gavin Doyle 7), Keith Quinn; Daniel Purdy, Dean Ebbe (Derek O'Brien 80), Rhys Gorman, Ryan Connolly, Gary Shaw (Josh O'Hanlon 31); David O'Sullivan
Subs Not Used: David O'Neill, Paul Hunt, Brian McCarthy, Glenn O'Connor
Booked: Chris Deans (52), Dean Ebbe (56)
Referee: Graham Kelly.
Attendance: 900 (estimate).
Extratime Man Of The Match: Kieran Marty Waters (Bray Wanderers).