Leinster Senior Cup Report: Bray Wanderers 1 - 0 Wexford
Joshua Lindsay reports from Whitehall Stadium
Teenager Thomas Morgan’s careful finish fired Bray Wanderers to a narrow 1-0 victory over First Division rivals Wexford in their Leinster Senior Cup clash on Wednesday night.
The Seagulls success over James Keddy’s men means they will advance to the next round of the competition with a win over Shelbourne’s under-20 side on Monday afternoon.
But it was Wexford who got the ball rolling from the off and applied some early pressure.
And the best chance they created was through a dangerous inswinging cross by Reece Webb down the right flank – but Bray keeper Jimmy Corcoran swept away the danger.
Eighteen minutes in, Bray took the lead through Morgan.
Wexford’s Webb misplaced a pass on the right flank, which led to an interception by Morgan.
And the talented forward – who will be looking to make his mark at the Carlisle Grounds this season – quickly turned and carried the ball to the edge of the box before placing a blistering strike into the bottom right corner.
Soon after, a Bray corner caused trouble in the Wexford six-yard box and led to a strike on goal which forced Slaneyside keeper Alex Moody to make a close reaction save.
He pushed the ball to the edge of the box which resulted in a shot dragged wide by Wanderers Darren Craven.
Moody was tested again with five minutes left to play in the first half as Spanish midfielder Guillermo Almirall cut inside from the left wing and aimed for the bottom right corner.
But Moody got down low to parry the effort out wide.
Ian Ryan’s men had one last chance to double their lead before the break as new recruit Cristian Magerusan cruised through the centre of the field.
The ex-Longford Town striker played in Morgan – but the teenager’s effort was beaten away by Moody after he turned and drove into the Wexford box, before unleashing a left footed strike.
Wexford awoke just after that and created their first real opening of the game as Webb pulled his shot wide of goal.
This was a sign of things to come for Wexford as they kicked off the second half and caused problems out wide for Bray.
The Seagulls kicked back moments later when former Shamrock Rovers man Kieran Cruise drove down the left flank and put an inviting cross into the box that was met by an acrobatic attempt that flew over the bar.
Thomas Oluwa was then drafted on for the visitors – with his first few touches threatening.
His first effort saw him pick up the ball and rush at the Bray defence before unleashing an effort on goal that was blocked.
But the introduction of Seagulls attacker Alain Kizenga introduced the Wexford defence to flair.
Kizenga gracefully danced in and out of two Wexford players before being brought down on the edge of the box, which sent the Bray crowd into uproar.
But the referee deemed it no foul and the game continued.
With 20 minutes remaining on the clock, back-to-back yellow cards were brandished out to Harry Groome, and Kian Corbally – which set the tone for the rest of the tie.
Keddy’s men grew increasingly desperate to equalise while Bray were keen to hold onto the win.
Wexford piled on the pressure with 15 minutes to go, resulting in numerous chances to score.
The right flank seemed the most dangerous for Wexford as they exploited that side on countless occasions throughout the game.
Kaylem Harnett and Darragh Levingston linked up very well down that side and caused problems for Bray.
Their best opportunity came through it as Harnett pulled the ball back to Oluwa, who tried to swivel and shoot in the box but fluffed his lines and it headed miles wide.
And with four minutes added on, Wexford forced the ball out wide for crosses into the Seagulls box.
But none of which resulted in a chance on goal as the Wanderers defensive shape made the difference.
Bray Wanderers: James Corcoran, Evan Osam (Ben Feeney, 61), Killian Cantwell, Cole Omorehiomwan, Darren Craven (Max Murphy, 63), Kieran Cruise (Alain Kizenga, 61), Freddie Turley, Harry Groome, Guillermo Almirall, Thomas Morgan (Jamie Duggan, 60), Cristian Magerusan (Zach Nolan, 60).
Subs not used: Benjamin Clark, Josh McGlone
Booked: Harry Groome (72).
Wexford: Alex Moody, Ethan Boyle, Benjamin Lynch (Mark Hanratty, 61), Brandon McCann, Reece Webb (Thomas Oluwa, 62), James Crawford, Aaron Robinson (Luka Lovic, 61), Cian Curtis (Kaylem Harnett, 62), Mikie Rowe, Kian Corbally, Aaron Dobbs (Darragh Levingston, 61).
Subs not used: William Gaul, Mark Hanratty.
Booked: Kian Corbally (71).
Referee: Gavin Colfer.
Extratime Player of the Match: Thomas Morgan (Bray Wanderers)
Attendance: 100 (Estimated)