Andrew Dempsey reporting from the Carlisle Grounds
Bohemians completed their pre-season preparations with a comfortable 2-0 win over Bray Wanderers at the Carlisle Grounds.
Goals from Luke Wade-Slater and Keith Ward set Bohs on their way as Bray were left unfortunate losers despite their valiant effort by the sea.
The Seagulls have enjoyed a fairly calm off-season in comparison to previous years, with manager Gary Cronin adding strongly to his squad following relegation to the second tier in October.
Impressive pre-season results against Premier Division sides Shamrock Rovers and Waterford have all lifted the mood around the Quinsborough Road venue while the signings of Dylan McGlade, Paul Keegan and Dylan Barnett have increased optimism around the club.
On the other hand, Bohs manager Keith Long has had to deal with many departures, with Shane Supple, Eoghan Stokes, Daniel Kelly and Dan Casey all heading for the exit door in recent months.
The Gypsies have however added to their ranks with James Talbot, James Finnerty and former Waterford ‘keeper Niall Corbet all joining Keith Long’s charges.
After a typically pre-season start to proceedings at the Carlisle Grounds, it was Bohs who had the first real chance of the game with Wade-Slater firing well over from just inside the penalty area.
A strong wind prevented any real flow as both sides tried to impose their preferred style of play. Cronin will have been pleased with his side’s defensive organisation during the opening half hour.
However, the wind was to be Bray’s undoing as Darragh Leahy’s ball from wide caught out Adam Hayden in the Bray goal, and Wade-Slater nodded home at the back post.
The Seagulls rallied and after some brilliant work by Jake Ellis, the English born 18-year-old laid the ball beautifully off to Luke Nolan who had the goal at his mercy.
Unfortunately for Nolan and Bray, the right-back was unable to find the back of the net as his wayward shot flew high over James Talbot’s bar, and Bray went in a goal in arrears at the break.
The second half started in much the same fashion as the first did as neither side was able to create an opening of any sort.
The bright McGlade was moved into a central position after the break with his attacking partner Ellis going more into the middle as well.
The clash lived up to its billing as a pre-season friendly until Keith Buckley mistimed a challenge and drew a yellow card. Perhaps Buckley was lucky it wasn’t a competitive game.
The lively Ellis went close soon after, but Talbot collected the ball comfortably as the Seagulls tried to fashion an opening as the wind increased that bit more by the Irish Sea coast.
As the time ticked away, Bohemians made sure of their win by the seaside as Ward slotted the ball past Gabriel Sava in the Seagulls goal to complete the Gypsies’ pre-season schedule in style.
Bohs play Finn Harps next week at Dalymount Park while Bray must wait one more week to get their campaign up and running against Cabinteely at Stradbrook.
Bray Wanderers: Adam Hayden (Gabriel Sava 67); Luke Nolan, Dylan Barnett, Kilian Cantwell (Conor Behan 86), Sean Heaney, Brandon McCann (Jamie Crilly 77), Luka Jovic (Cian Walsh 86), Jake Ellis (Cian Maher 72), Dylan McGlade, Joe Doyle, Paul Keegan.
Subs not used: Hugh Douglas, Andrew McGovern, Richie Purdy.
Bohemians: James Talbot; Derek Pender, Darragh Leahy (Peter Adigun 46), Rob Cornwall, Dinny Corcoran, Keith Ward, Kevin Devaney, Conor Levingston, Keith Buckley, James Finnerty, Luke Wade Slater.
Substitutes: Sean Bohan (gk), Dylan Thornton, Brandon Bermingham.
Booked: Keith Buckley (67).
Referee: Neil Doyle.
Attendance: 250 (estimate).
Extratime.ie Player of the Match: Keith Ward (Bohemians).