A well taken Ayman Ben Mohamed goal ensured Longford Town maintained their commendable start back in the Premier Division when they beat Trevor Croly's new-look Bray Wanderers 1-0 at the Carlisle Grounds on Friday night.
His side weren't without their setbacks however, as the Seasiders had to play over 80 minutes of the game with ten men following the dismissal of Peter McGlynn after just eight minutes when his late lunge on Stephen Rice was determined to be an offence worthy of a sending off by referee Anthony Buttimer.
This did not diminish Bray's hopes of getting at least a point out of the fixture however, as they went on the offence with this being aided by the evident defensive solidity brought in by new manager Trevor Croly.
The sending off capped off a dismal opening ten minutes for the home side however, as it followed a disallowed goal after six minutes. A Graham Kelly free kick met the head of an unmarked Alan McNally at the back post, with the former Drogheda captain sticking the chance past Stephen McGuninness but the goal was ruled out for offside by the speedily raised flag of the linesman.
Longford soon realised the lack of pressure being put under Martin Deedy and Rhys Gorman at the back resulting from Bray playing Chris Lyons as a lone striker up front. The home side were pinned back into their own half for a period in which an Ayman Ben Mohamad shot and a dipping Pat Sullivan free kick tested the palms of Stephen McGuninnes in the Bray goal.
Such rare scoring chances for the visitors were countered by close opportunities by Chris Lyons and a stinging Ryan McEvoy free kick straight down the middle and to the right of Paul Skinner in the Longford goal.
Longford came close when David O'Sullivan received the ball on the edge of the Bray box and was closed down quick but nervously by Stephen McGuninnes as Sullivan twisted and turned the keeper before his shot was blocked down by Hugh Douglas while the Bray goal lay wide open for a scoring chance.
The second half was greeted by a string of half chances for Longford, including a looping half-volley from Mark Salmon inside the Bray box before the game was suddenly jerked into life by the decision-making of referee Anthony Buttimer.
A Mark Salmon ball was controlled by Pat O'Sullivan who was then taken down by Bray defender Adam Mitchell. Referee Buttimer initially judged the tackle to warrant a penalty by pointing to the spot but after conversing with his fellow officials decided on a controversial hop ball to the jeers of the Bray supporters.
Longford came at Bray following the introduction of Kaleem Simon and Lorcan Shannon on the hour mark, however a close chance was evaded when a Martin Deedy cross was met by the boot of Adam Mitchell in a crucial interception, beating the hapless Simon and teammate Gary Shaw to the ball in a perfect summation of the defenders stellar performance of the night.
But Longford finally delivered a deserved opening goal when Ayman Ben Mohamed took on two defenders before releasing a low left-footed shot that evaded the diving efforts of Stephen McGunniness to smash the post and ping into the back of the Bray net to put his team 1-0 up on 66 minutes.
The game maintained its narrative of Bray's constant defensive solidity coupled by Longford edging for a goal to put the game to bed until Chris Lyons look set to level the scores after he came one on one with Paul Skinner in the Longford goal.
The striker was let loose on a surging run while holding off his marker before Skinner closed down the space between them and reassuringly blocked the forward's low shot with his feet.
Longford looked set to put the game to bed against the run of play when second half substitute Kaleem Simon was joined in attack in a 3 v 1 situation in favour of the town, the player passing to his right to find Ben Mohamed but his shot lacked power as the winger lost his footing as his shot was hit straight at the onrushing Stephen McGuniness.
Despite this the game would see itself out with Longford on top as the extra man took its toll on a commendable Bray performance that sees them remain bottom of the table on a night when a stellar Ayman Ben Mohamed Man of the Match performance stood between the two sides.
Bray Wanderers: Stephen McGuninness; Michael Barker, Alan McNally, Adam Mitchell, David Cassidy, Ryan McEvoy, Luke Gallagher (David Scully 70), Graham Kelly (Gareth McDonagh 75), Hugh Douglas, Peter McGlynn, Chris Lyons.
Subs Not Used: Brian Kane (gk), Niall Cooney, Jack Memery, James O'Donnell, Emeka Onwubiko.
Sent off: McGlynn (8).
Longford Town: Paul Skinner; Martin Deady, Rhys Gorman, Mark Rossiter, Stephen Rice, Mark Salmon (Lorcan Shannon 61), Kevin O'Connor, Pat Sullivan (Kaleem Simon 61), David O'Sullivan, Ayman Ben Mohamed, Gary Shaw.
Subs Not Used: Paul Hunt (gk), Jamie Mulhall, William Tyrrell, Conor Powell, Conor Dunne.
Sent off: None.
Referee: Anthony Buttimer.
Attendance: 750 (estimate).
ExtraTime.ie Man of the Match: Ayman Ben Mohamed (Longford Town).