Bray rearguard finally breached as Shamrock Rovers take point home

Stalemate between Sligo and Derry at Showgrounds; Wexford Youths clinch vital win at Finn Harps

Gary McCabe celebrates  scoring from the penalty spot with Shamrock Rovers team-mate  Killian Brennan during the SSE Airtricity League Premier Division game against Bray Wanderers at the   Carlisle Grounds. Photograph: Donall Farmer/Inpho

Gary McCabe celebrates scoring from the penalty spot with Shamrock Rovers team-mate Killian Brennan during the SSE Airtricity League Premier Division game against Bray Wanderers at the Carlisle Grounds. Photograph: Donall Farmer/Inpho

 

Bray Wanderers 1 Shamrock Rovers 1

Gary McCabe brought Bray Wanderers’ run of almost 10 hours without having conceded a goal to an end as his second-half penalty salvaged a point for Shamrock Rovers at the Carlisle Grounds.

Bray were looking to extend their league run without conceding to six matches and, not least, beat Rovers at home for the first time in five years.

And it was Harry Kenny’s in-form Wanderers who started the brighter with midfielder John Sullivan looping a header wide after Rovers failed to clear a long throw from Hugh Douglas inside three minutes.

Six minutes later, Dylan Connolly’s pace got him in behind Rovers’ defence on the right to cross. Ryan Brennan just couldn’t reach the ball, injuring himself in the process when colliding with a post, necessitating his substitution shortly afterwards.

Bray’s gameplan was further disrupted when they lost striker Dean Kelly to injury on 23 minutes. It scarcely mattered, however, as they were deservedly ahead two minutes later.

Though Connolly initially appeared to have been fouled, he had the wherewithal to get the ball to Ger Pender.

His shot was blocked in turn, but the substitute managed to then set up Connolly from the rebound to tap the ball home for his first league goal of the season.

Rovers, who lost Killian Brennan to injury midway through the half, didn’t seriously threaten until the 43rd minute when Brandon Miele’s free kick was flicked over off the head of Rob Cornwall.

With more about them from the resumption, Rovers finally made the breakthrough on 73 minutes. Miele’s drive struck the hand of Bray skipper Conor Kenna with referee Anthony Buttimer hesitating initially before pointing to the spot.

Substitute McCabe confidently sent Peter Cherrie the wrong way from the spot, the first time the Bray goalkeeper had been beaten in 593 minutes of football.

BRAY WANDERERS: Cherrie; Douglas, Kenna, Clancy, Lynch; Sullivan; Moore, Brennan (Salmon, 15 mins), Noone (McDonagh, 76 mins), Connolly; Kelly (Pender, 23 mins).

SHAMROCK ROVERS: Hyland; Madden, Cornwall, Heaney, G Brennan; Miele, Cregg, K Brennan (McCabe, 27 mins), D Clarke; Dobbs (Boyd, 57 mins), Shaw (T Clarke, 75 mins).

Referee: Anthony Buttimer (Cork).

Sligo Rovers 0 Derry City 0

Sligo Rovers extended their unbeaten home record to 10 games after an entertaining scoreless draw at the Showgrounds.

The Bit O’Red were the better side and created some great chances, but Derry dug deep to claim a valuable point in their pursuit of a European spot.

Raff Cretaro really should have scored for the hosts on 10 minutes after Liam Martin picked the pocket of Niclas Vemmelund and set him up in front of goal, only for the striker to hesitate and Derry to crowd him out.

Craig Roddan’s brilliant cross from the right almost picked out John Russell for a tap-in soon after, but Ryan McBride made a brilliant challenge to deny the midfielder.

Still the chances kept coming for the hosts against the makeshift Derry defence, and Martin was put through one-on-one by Kieran Sadlier 10 minutes before the break only for Ger Doherty to save at his feet.

And the netminder then denied Sadlier from the rebound before Derry countered and Ronan Curtis crossed superbly for Lucas Schubert, who could only volley over from close to goal.

Derry’s best spell came on the hour-mark, as Ronan Curtis saw a curled effort deflected narrowly wide of the post and, from the resultant corner, Vemmelund’s header was cleared off the line by the impressive Tobi Adebayo-Rowling.

There was one final chance in the last two minutes as Sadlier tried his luck with a low shot but the ball whistled past the post with Doherty beaten.

SLIGO ROVERS: Schlingermann, Adebayo-Rowling, Peers, Boylan, Keohane, Roddan, Russell, Kearns, Sadlier, Martin, Cretaro.

DERRY CITY: Doherty, Jarvis, Vemmelund, McBride, McClean (Boyle, 12 mins), Schubert, McCormack, McEneff, McNamee, Curtis (Daniels, 42 mins), Patterson.

Referee: R Rogers.

Finn Harps 0 Wexford Youths 1

Substitute Aidan Keenan headed in a dramatic 85th-minute winner as Wexford Youths bagged three crucial points in their battle to avoid the drop as they overcame Finn Harps at Finn Park.

Wexford went into this game on the back of six straight defeats and in dire need of a reversal in fortunes.

Wexford looked the livelier after a combative opening spell and Harps netminder Richard Brush had to be alert to a number of probing crosses.

But, on 23 minutes, Harps missed a great opportunity to go in front when Wexford lost possession and Ruairi Keating nipped in only for his control to let him down on the edge of the box.

Wexford’s danger man Danny Furlong then threatened to open the scoring on 36 minutes as he latched onto a long ball and raced into the box, but Keith Cowan’s tackle was timed to perfection.

Raymond Foy then let fly with a speculative 35 yard effort on 38 minutes as the game really began to open up.

Harps created the first chance of the second half with Sean Houston’s drive being fumbled by Graham Doyle at the expense of a corner.

Andy Mulligan then tested Finn Harps with a free as Wexford put the Harps defence under a sustained period of pressure.

The physical nature of the game re-surfaced in the final 10 minutes as Harps were constantly put on the back foot and Furlong gave them another scare with a free just over the target.

Wexford broke the deadlock through Keenan following a free but Harps then squandered a couple of late chances to salvage a point.

FINN HARPS: Brush; McNulty (Boyle, 7 mins), Mailey, Cowan, Coll; Curran, Foy (McHugh, 84 mins), Molloy, Houston, Hanlon (Funston, 77mins); Keating.

WEXFORD YOUTHS: Doyle; McCabe, Delaney, Last, Grace; Dunne, Bonner (Dempsey 90), Kenny, Ledwith (Friel, 6 mins); Mulligan, Furlong.

Referee: R Matthews (Westmeath).

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