Bray Wanderers will be wondering just how they only managed a 0-0 with Galway United at Eamonn Deacy Park on Friday.
They should have been home and hosed long before Galway’s late awakening that presented two gilt edged chances.
The opening half was a bit stop start, but was dominated in snatches by the visiting side with Matthew Connor in the Galway goal making four excellent saves.
The game was mistake littered at times, with the most influential players being Shaw and Thompson for Bray and Connor and Christopher for the home side.
The opening quarter saw Man of the Match Matthew Connor in serious action as first on eight minutes he saved a one-on-one with Joe Doyle and seven minutes later he denied Gary Shaw with another fine stop.
Ryan Graydon, on 24 mins found himself clear through but again Connor was equal to the task, with a remarkable save.
Galway United didn’t manage their first shot on goal until the 35th minute when Stephen Christopher was just wide from 20 yards, while the same player had another effort two minutes later which was well wide of the mark.
Stand in manager Colin Fortune made some changes at half time for the home side when he brought Wilson Waweru in for Mikey Place and reshuffled his midfield, pushing Doherty wide and bringing Higgins into a more central role.
There was certain element of what we have we hold as the changes isolated Waweru as a lone striker but certainly tightened the central area.
Bray again threatened, from the off, in the second period, with Shaw being inches away from a cross on 47 minutesbut it would take till the 64th minute for a clear cut chance.
Once again Connor pulled off a cracking save from Joe Doyle while ten minutes later he stopped a pile driver from former Galway player Killian Cantwell.
With ten minutes remaining Galway saw a glimmer of hope as Shane Doherty showed his lightening speed to race through the Bray defence before being fouled just outside the box by Aaron Barry who earned a red card for his trouble.
Brian Maher had actually saved Doherty’s effort but the ref was playing advantage, so free kick and red card.
There were a flurry of changes in the final ten minutes from both sides, but there was a sense that Galway had snuck into a game they had no right to be on terms in.
The home side were refused what appeared to be a cast iron penalty claim in time added on as Lomboto seemed to be fouled in the area by Maher – if there had a been a crowd in the ground they would have gone nuts at this point!
Overall, two points left behind by Bray, who have slick operators in Thompson and Shaw, while Lovic was perhaps their most consistent and effective operator on the night.
For Galway, Matthew Connor stood out like a beacon – he was faultless while Chris Horgan, Stephen Christopher and Shane Duggan were the pick of the rest.
It is difficult to imagine what incoming Manager John Caulfield made of it all – he has work to do and the final ten games will be fascinating.
Galway United: Matthew Connor, Jack Lynch, Maurice Nugent, Timmy Molloy, Shane Duggan, Mikey Place (Waweru, 45), Shane Doherty (Enda Curran, 85), Stephen Christopher (Francely Lomboto,85), Donal Higgins, Christopher Horgan, Timo Parthoens.
Subs Not Used: Kevin Horgan, Marc Ludden, Conor Barry, Sam Warde.
Booked: Timo Parthoens (65), Maurice Nugent (90).
Sent off: None.
Bray Wanderers: Brian Maher, John Ross Wilson, Dylan Barnett, Killian Cantwell, Aaron Barry, Ryan Graydon (Paul Keegan, 72), Callum Thompson (Tristan Noack-Hofmann,84), Joe Doyle, Gary Shaw (Darragh Lynch,88), Luka Lovic, Sean McAvoy
Subs Not Used: Adam Hayden, Derek Daly, Jack Watson, Marlon Marishta.
Booked: Sean McEvoy (34) ,John Ross Wilson (44) ,Luka Lovic (82).
Sent off: Aaron Barry (89).
Referee: Jason Mannix
ExtraTime.ie Player of the Match: Matthew Connor (Galway United).
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