Rovers keep tenuous hopes of Europe alive with victory
AIRTRICITY LEAGUE PREMIER DIVISION Bray Wanderers 1 Shamrock Rovers 3:SHAMROCK ROVERS rose a little further from the ashes of their season with a second successive win to keep their tenuous hopes of Europa League qualification via the league alive.
Bringing the confidence garnered from last week’s 7-0 hiding of Dundalk to north Wicklow, Rovers were assured from the off with skipper Ken Oman side-footing over the bar when he might have scored from Gary McCabe’s corner on six minutes.
The Bray goal wasn’t so fortune 11 minutes later as Rovers’ early pressure paid a dividend. Adam Mitchell began a night to forget for the Bray central defender when booked for body-checking the run of winger McCabe.
Further punishment arrived from the resulting free-kick which Killian Brennan clipped to the back of the net off the underside of the crossbar.
Mitchell was the fall guy for Bray once more on 32 minutes as he cleared a McCabe cross out for Rovers’ third corner of the night. Negligent marking allowed Oman to rise unchallenged at the near post to power a header to the net from McCabe’s delivery.
While contributing to their own downfall at the back, it was Bray’s luck that was absent at the other end as they somehow failed to pull a goal back by the interval.
Rovers’ goal survived on the double on 35 minutes, Oscar Jansson first parrying a shot from Jason Byrne with Sean Houston’s follow-up hitting bar twice, on the way up and down, before being scrambled clear.
Bray’s fortune deserved to change and it did on 56 minutes, Kieran Waters showing delightful feet to nip by a defender and shoot to the bottom corner of the net from inside the area.
Rovers responded well, though, with Gary Twigg having a goal disallowed for offside – as Ciaran Kilduff had earlier – while Darren Quigley saved well from a Billy Dennehy header before the winger shot against a post.
A rash tug by Mitchell on the goal-bound Twigg brought Rovers’ clinching third goal on 81 minutes. Mitchell was shown a straight red card before McCabe drove the penalty down the middle.
BRAY WANDERERS: Quigley; Webster, D O’Connor (Doyle, 90 mins), Mitchell, Massey; Hanlon (Georgiev, 69 mins), Zambra, K O’Connor, Waters (Marshall, 90 mins); Houston; Byrne.
SHAMROCK ROVERS: Jansson; Sullivan, Sives, Oman, Powell; McCabe, Rice, Finn, Brennan (Dennehy 36); Kilduff, Twigg (Greene, 82 mins)
Referee: Padraigh Sutton(Clare).