Andrew Dempsey reports from Stradbrook Park
Yuta Sasaki was the hero for Cabinteely on Friday evening as his late winner secured a famous three points for Pat Devlin’s charges at a sun-kissed Stradbrook Park.
Dylan McGlade looked to have secured a solitary point for Bray Wanderers 15 minutes from time after Paul Fox’s superb opener early on, but it was not to be for a crestfallen Seagulls.
Kevin Knight returned to the Cabinteely starting eleven after his return to Stradbrook from Longford Town while Dean Williams was named in the Seagulls starting team after his arrival from Shamrock Rovers in recent days.
Bray Wanderers started the game positively, but it was Pat Devlin’s charges who ought to have scored through Rob Manley who saw his looping header crash off the post after a great delivery on the eft by Kieran ‘Marty’ Waters.
Gary Cronin’s side saw their first real opening of the game come through a Dylan Barnett corner. Barnett’s set piece found Joe Doyle’s head, but the former Cabo forward was unable to steer his effort on target.
However, it was a moment of brilliance that saw Cabinteely take the lead thanks to an expert strike on the volley from winger Paul Fox after a quarter of an hour.
Marty Waters found Fox from the right before Fox blasted home past a helpless Gabriel Sava to open the scoring in close conditions at Stradbrook.
The Seagulls reacted well to going a goal behind as Joe Doyle saw his gilt-edged chance blaze over the bar after a superb pull-back from Derek Daly on the left flank.
Bray continued to threaten and looked menacing through the attacking threat of Richie Purdy with his direct running and intricate midfield play cause problems for Conor Keeley in the Cabinteely defence.
Williams, the Shamrock Rovers loanee, went close late on in the opening period but he was denied through the fingertips of Stephen McGuinness who had precious little to do beforehand.
In comparison to the opening period, the second half paled in terms of clear goalscoring opportunities, but Jack Watson really should have scored his first and Cabo’s second just five minutes in as his effort crashed off the bar.
Paul Keegan, who struggled for much of the game then had a brilliant opportunity to level on two occasions within the space of ten seconds.
Firstly, the 2017 First Division winner saw his shot saved by the busy McGuinness before he snapped the follow up wide, however, the Seagulls were not to be denied minutes later.
Sub Dylan McGlade rounded McGuinness in the Cabinteely goal to slot home after a long punt upfield from Hugh Douglas to score his sixth of the season.
With the game in the melting pot, Cabinteely substitute Yuta Sasaki produced another piece of magic to secure all three points for the Green and White’s.
The 23-year-old winger jinked past Douglas before, with the aid of his toe, smashing the ball past Sava to score a goal deserving of winning any game with just minutes to go.
The Seagulls pressed late on, but their efforts were in vain as Devlin’s unlikely promotion contenders secured a famous victory over their East Coast counterparts, keeping their position in the playoffs for another weekend at least.
Cabinteely: Stephen McGuinness; Conor Keeley, Kevin Knight, Eoin Massey, Jack Tuite; Keith Dalton (Luke Clucas, 84), Paul Fox, Zak O'Neill, Jack Watson; Rob Manley (Shane Barnes, 85), Kieran 'Marty' Waters (Yuta Sasaki, 72).
Subs not used: Kieran Butler, Ben Clarke, Sean Fitzpatrick, Christian Lotefa.
Bray Wanderers: Gabriel Sava; Sean Heaney, Darragh Gibbons (Philip Gannon, 29), Hugh Douglas, Kilian Cantwell, Dylan Barnett; Richie Purdy (Dylan McGlade, 65), Paul Keegan, Derek Daly; Joe Doyle, Dean Williams.
Subs not used: Luke Nolan, Brandon McCann, Luka Lovic, Adam Hayden, Dylan Thornton.
Booked: Darragh Gibbons (21), Paul Keegan (80).
Referee: Eoghan O’Shea.
Attendance: 750 (Estimate).
ExtraTime.ie Player of the Match: Jack Tuite (Cabinteely).