Rovers given stern seaside test
Bray Wanderers... 2 Blackburn Rovers... 3: were given a stern pre-season test by a spirited Bray Wanderers at a packed Carlisle Ground last night.
When Bray manager, and Damien Duff's agent, Pat Devlin set up this bumper tie he didn't expect his star client to be starting a new chapter in his career as part of the Chelsea revolution.
Irish players old and new were on display as Stephen Reid and veteran goalkeeper Alan Kelly kept the neutral support interested. So did Dwight Yorke, who played out a riveting duel with local favourite Wesley Charles.
The new-look Blackburn threatened to open up their Division One opponents as early as the first minute, but Matt Jansen's shot was just outside the post. However, they continued to press, with a Reid effort curling just wide after nine minutes.
For all their panache the Premier League men found themselves trailing two minutes later when Paul Forsyth sent Eamon Zayed through to put the part-timers into the lead.
Reid had to depart moments later as he came out second best in a challenge with Colm Tresson. He had been operating in Duff's old role on the left in just his second start since signing from Millwall.
Rovers drew level on 20 minutes through somewhat fortunate circumstances. Tresson tried to cut out a ball destined for Jansen but instead he put it into the path of Yorke, who walked it into the net.
Yorke sent his side in leading at the break after Rovers failed to clear a Jansen header that ricocheted off the post.
Bray were playing above themselves and a great tackle from veteran Maurice Farrell on Brett Emerton started the move for their second goal. Robbie McGuinness's shot was well stopped by Kelly but John Flood was on hand to squeeze it home.
David Thompson then hit the bar before Zayed looked to have done the miraculous and pulled things level near the finish, but a combination of the post and a linesman's flag denied the dream ending.
BRAY WANDERERS: O'Connor, Tresson, Ryan, Lynch, Charles, James, McGuinness, Fox, Zayed, Flood, Forsyth. Subs: Gormley for Forsyth, Farrell for Fox (both 58 mins), O'Hanlon for Charles (70 mins), O'Brien for Ryan, O'Reilly for Tresson (both 75 mins), Walsh for O'Connor, Lawless for James (both 76 mins), Long for Flood (79 mins), Brack for McGuinness 83 mins)
BLACKBURN ROVERS: Kelly, Niell, Johansson, Tugay, Todd, Flitcroft, Emerton, Thompson, Yorke, Jansen, Reid. Subs: Gallagher for Reid (18 mins), McElvey for Gallagher (half-time).
Referee: P McKeown (Dublin).