Gareth Danaher reports from the Carlisle Grounds
Bray Wanderers snatched a point from the jaws of defeat during a six-goal thriller on Friday night against Cobh Ramblers at the Carlisle Grounds.
Hugh Douglas’ last gasp equaliser saved the day for the hosts who fell a goal behind with just three minutes of normal time remaining thanks to Stephen O’Leary’s 87th minute goal.
Dean Williams had just sent the Seagulls level a minute previous. Cian Leonard opened the scoring for Stuart Ashton’s side before Joe Doyle levelled just after half-time. O’Leary then scored his first of the night ten minutes later.
The game opened with Bray having most of the possession in the Cobh half and spreading the ball neatly around as Cobh were on the back foot for the opening period of the game.
Recent recruit and Shamrock Rovers loanee Williams nearly tapped in the first goal for Bray on the 18th minute after a good counter-attack from the Seagulls but Paul Hunt pushed it away in the Cobh goal.
Within three minutes of that clear cut chance, Dylan McGlade should have opened the scoring for the hosts when he rounded the keeper but his path was blocked by the Cobh defence.
While Bray didn’t take their chances, Cobh took theirs as they were awarded a penalty on the 32nd minute.
Hugh Douglas fouled O’Leary in the penalty area. Leonard then stepped up to take the penalty and he put the Cork side ahead just past the half-hour mark.
Having gone in behind at the break, Bray soon levelled as Doyle equalised for Bray after Paul Keegan whipped in a low cross that Doyle buried home into the back of the net.
Cobh regained the lead again on the 56th minute as Stephen O’Leary got his head onto Greg Henry’s cross to bring Gary Cronin’s side tumbling back down to earth
Bray went onto push for an equaliser again and they managed to do so with Williams netting from close range in the 86th minute.
However, the drama was not to end there as the visitors immediately scored right after the restart with O’Leary scoring again, this time from 25 yards - beating Gabriel Sava from long-range.
Andrew Moran was then brought on and became the youngest Wanderers player to ever play on the first team at 15 years of age and 307 days. He played during the last eight minutes of the game.
With time running out for Bray’s promotion hunt, they secured a priceless equaliser at the death troug the inspirational Douglas.
The defended headed home a Dylan McGlade cross to spark wild scenes as the Seagulls made up ground on Cabinteely following their shock defeat at home to Galway United.
Bray Wanderers: Gabriel Sava; Hugh Douglas, Killian Cantwell, Sean Heaney, Paul Keegan, Joe Doyle (Luka Lovic, 85), Dylan McGlade, Derek Daly, John Martin (Andrew Moran, 82), Dean Williams, Brandon McCann (Jake Ellis, 72).
Subs not used: Adam Hayden, Darragh Gibbons, Luke Nolan.
Cobh Ramblers: Paul Hunt; Kevin Taylor, Charlie Fleming, Ben O’Riordan, David Hurley, Ian Turner, Cian Leonard (Andrew Cronin, 87), Charlie Lyons, Stephen O’Leary, Greg Henry, Matthew Lamb (Cameron Harlson, 61)
Subs not used: Arthur Nganou; James O’Driscoll, Stephen O’Connor, Mikey Foley, Jamie O’Sullivan.
Referee: Alan Carey.
Attendance: 513 (official).