Cork City edge Bray after controversial sending off
Bottom-of-the-table team looked like holding out for first point of season before red card
Bray’s Graham Kelly leaves the pitch after being sent off against Cork City. Photo: Ryan Byrne/Inpho
A first goal for the club from Kieran Djilali’s saw Cork City labour to victory against 10-man Bray Wanderers at the Carlisle Grounds.
Bottom side Bray looked like holding out for an unlikely first point of the season as they frustrated Cork for more than half the game following midfielder Graham Kelly’s harsh sending off.
But Substitute Djilali struck on 84 minutes to turn home from close range following a goalmouth scramble to lift Cork up to second place in the table.
With a stiff breeze in their faces, a young Bray side were on the back foot against a vastly more experienced Cork from the off.
John O’Flynn headed over the top while Darren Dennehy should have done better than hook his volley over the bar following brother Billy’s corner, all inside the opening few minutes.
Bray keeper Stephen McGuinness was forced into his first stop on 12 minutes when turning Karl Sheppard’s angled drive out for corner after Liam Miller had played him through.
Bray grew into the game though with Kelly getting a shot off before Emeka Onwubiko lobbed over the bar just past the half hour.
But a most contentious decision by Tipperary referee Jim McKell stunned Bray on 36 minutes.
Kelly’s sliding tackle in from behind on Billy Dennehy was perhaps worthy of a yellow card, but surely not the red that was promptly brandished.
Sheppard should then have seen Cork ahead at the interval, but drilled wide across goal, before Bray captain Adam Mitchell had to clear off the line from Alan Bennett’s header in added time.
McGuinness parried a Billy Dennehy free kick as the one-way traffic continued into the second half.
The Bray keeper was there again on 65 minutes to push away a stinging drive from City’s impressive right-back John Kavanagh.
Cork thought they’d finally taken the lead on 77 minutes. Once more, though, McGuinness batted away substitute Gavan Holohan’s back post header from another Billy Dennehy corner.
But the pressure finally told six minutes from time. McGuinness flapped away defender Hugh Douglas’ sliced attempted clearance. Holohan put the ball back into the area for Djilali to shoot home from very close range.
Bray Wanderers: McGuinness; Barker, Mitchell, Douglas, O’Reilly; McGlynn, McEvoy, Kelly, Hanlon (Memery, 69); Onwubiko (Lyons, 59), McDonough (Gallagher 40).
Cork City: McNulty; Kavanagh, Bennett, D. Dennehy, Gaynor; Dunleavy (Holohan, h/t), Murray; B. Dennehy, Miller, Sheppard (O’Sullivan, 60); O’Flynn (Djilali, 67).
Referee: Jim McKell (Tipperary).