Adam Hanlon 81' -
Adam Hanlon came off the bench to fire Bray Wanderers up to fifth in the table as his goal was enough to see off the challenge of Limerick FC at the Carlisle Grounds on Friday night.
Bray started brightly and made a number of inroads down the flanks before Limerick had fully woken up. Shane O’Neill and Gareth McGlynn got a number of crosses in from the left and David Cassidy was industrious in the hole behind the main striker Akinade.
But the Limerick back four are a physically imposing quartet and it was not until Scully moved to the middle and Cassidy went wide that Bray began to look a little bit more dangerous. But it was Limerick, having gradually grown into the game from a standing start, who should have opened the scoring in the 21st minute.
It was Patrick Nzuzi who created the chance with a powerful run down the left but striker Tam McManus wasted the full back’s accurate cross and miskicked when unmarked in front of the Bray goal.
A combination of Nzuzi’s energy down the flank, Shane Duggan’s calm promptings from central midfield and Shane Tracy’s looping free kicks served to crank up the pressure on the home side and Stephen Folan headed narrowly wide on 28 minutes.
As the half matured Nzuzi had a fierce shot headed wide by Dave Webster and McManus saw his low effort smothered after a Tracy free kick from the left. And the half ended with McManus, unable to keep his volley down, firing the ball just over the Bray bar.
Limerick started the second half well with Tracy’s shot from 40 yards, over the stranded McGuinness, being headed off the line by Dave Webster five minutes after the restart. But it was Bray who went on to dominate the half.
Scully just failed to connect with McGlynn’s excellent cross just after the hour mark and Graham Kelly flashed a fierce shot inches wide of Cusack’s goal on 68 minutes. Shane O’Neill’s shot was well held by Cusack two minutes later but it was O’Neill’s departure shortly afterwards that paved the way for Bray’s victory.
Winger Adam Hanlon replaced O’Neill with 18 minutes left to play and nine minutes later, after a period of good pressure from the home side, Hanlon picked up a rebound, stepped around his man and shot low past Cusack for what would prove to be the match winner.
As Limerick pressed for an equaliser Bray should have wrapped things up when Akinade broke free. He surged forwards, played a one-two with Hanlon, but then blasted high over the bar with only Cusack to beat.
It was three points well deserved for Alan Mathews’ side, despite having been second best for much of the opening half, and with three testing fixtures coming up for Limerick they must worry that a climb up the table won’t be happening any time soon.
Bray Wanderers: Stephen McGuinness; Niall Cooney, Dave Webster, Adam Mitchell, Jamie McGlynn; Dave Scully, Dean Zambra, Graham Kelly, Shane O’Neill (Adam Hanlon 72); David Cassidy; Ismahil Akinade.
Subs not used: Shane Redmond (gk), Shane Byrne, Danny O’Connor, Gary Curran, Michael Brown, Ciaran Byrne.
Booked: S O’Neill (59), Scully (70).
Limerick FC: Shane Cusack; Shaun Kelly, Samuel Oji, Stephen Folan, Patrick Nzuzi; Prince Agyemang; Shane Tracy (Ross Mann 88), Jason Hughes, Shane Duggan, Danny Galbraith (James McGrath 81); Tam McManus.
Subs not used: Ali Abass (gk), Michael Leahy, Colm Murphy, Darragh Rainsford, Tony Whitehead.
Referee: Ben Connolly.
Attendance: 450 (estimate)
Extratime Man of the Match: Graham Kelly (Bray Wanderers)