Gareth Danaher reports from the Carlisle Grounds
A quality performance from Bray Wanderers and a hat-trick from Dylan McGlade saw them past Drogheda United on Friday night at the Carlisle Grounds.
The former Shelbourne and St Patrick’s Athletic winger hasn’t scored since the opening day but he netted three times as Bray jumped above Drogheda and Limerick into fourth.
McGlade opened the scoring for the home side just before the 20-minute mark as Jake Ellis whipped in a ball from the right and Dean O’Halloran looked to latch onto
The Waterford loanee was bundled over by Kevin Farragher and referee David Dunne pointed to the spot. Skipper McGlade slotted it home via the post.
Jake Ellis also provided difficulty for the Drogheda defence as his beautiful flicked effort just sailed wide in the 26th minute.
Drogheda’s first real chance of the game saw Gabriel Sava caught off his line, but Stephen Meaney’s bullet header fell just wide of the goal.
Drogs boss Tim Clancy decided to bring in a substitute just before the break as Luke Heeney replaced Farragher who was booked earlier on in the game. A wise move from Clancy.
The Wicklow side doubled their lead just before the interval. Drogheda were playing it around at the back and McGlade sniffed out Luke McNally’s dreadful crossfield pass.
McGlade inflicted a second as he held off McNally, who was sprinting back after losing the ball, and drilled his fine effort into the left far corner.
Drogheda came out in the opening minutes of the second half looking more lively, and they pulled one back within seven minutes.
Skipper Cian Kavanagh played a short corner to Conor Kane, who layed it back to Kavanagh, and his cross was hoofed into the night sky by Stephen Meaney, which prompted Sava to dash from his line.
Sava failed to get a decisive hand on the ball and he allowed Luke Gallagher to head home from three yards.
Sava counted his blessings again as he raced out to meet James Brown but Brown slipped in a pass to Hyland before Sava reached him but couldn’t get a hand to it.
The skipper saw his initial shot blocked by Mark Doyle and Darragh Gibbons blocked Hyland’s follow up, Hyland only had to beat the defenders on the line but he couldn’t.
McGlade wrapped up all three points three minutes with three minutes to go. Luke Nolan, the young substitute, found McGlade in the area.
The number 10 danced past his way into position before the captain blasted a shot from a tight angle to leave the net bulging.
Bray Wanderers: Gabriel Sava; Hugh Douglas, Darragh Gibbons, Kilian Cantwell, Dylan Barnett; Paul Keegan, Richie Purdy (Luka Lovic 64), Derek Daly (Cian Maher 73); Dean O’Halloran, Dylan McGlade, Jake Ellis (83’ Luke Nolan).
Subs not used: Adam Hayden (gk), Sean Heaney, Andrew McGovern, Conor Behan.
Booked: Hugh Douglas (2), Kilian Cantwell (50).
Drogheda United: Luke Gratzer; James Brown, Luke McNally, Kevin Farragher (Luke Heeney 42), Conor Kane; Mark Hughes, Jake Hyland (Sean Brennan 71), Cian Kavanagh (Jordan Adeymo 76), Luke Gallagher; Mark Doyle, Stephen Meaney.
Subs not used: Dan Grace (gk), Sean Trimble, Eoin McPhillips, James Clarke.
Booked: Kevin Farragher (17), Luke McNally (69).
Referee: David Dunne.
Attendance: 1,299 (official).
ExtraTime.ie Player of the Match: Dylan McGlade (Bray Wanderers).