Bray Wanderers 0
Galway United 1
In football any team that possesses a swift frontrunner will always elicit fear. For vast chunks of Friday’s tepid Carlisle Grounds encounter Galway United were being troubled by Bray Wanderers, but then in a dramatic climax the consequence of a jet heeled and clinical finisher was revealed.
Derek Glynn was afforded one goalscoring opportunity by the sea and it was converted expertly. That the strike occurred in the last minute of normal time merely added to the dramatic conclusion of a game that had featured a surprisingly tepid opening period.
For Galway all that mattered was the ultimate outcome. If relegation is to be avoided these are exactly the type of games in which efficiency carries a deep importance. True Galway United's recent performances have hinted at a slight improvement, but the statistics accompanying the westerners were grim.
Galway's previous seven League games yielded a paltry return of two draws. While none of the reversals were particularly cruel United filed into the Wicklow town craving a tonic triumph and the injection of three points brought belief.
Though the narrative was laced with sub plots including Jeff Kenna’s competitive debut and Alan Gough’s posting between the Bray sticks among the interesting topics. Then Wanderers’ manager Eddie Gormley attempted to influence the contest by situating Paddy Kavanagh in an unfamiliar role on the left side of midfield to see whether there was zest in the legs of Kenna still. Initially the United player/manager dealt capably with the threat using all his guile and craft to settle back into life between the chalk lines. Kenna even managed to dash forward to rifle over a couple of menacing crosses, but Ollie Fenn was unable to connect.
Bray squandered a gilt edged opportunity in the 12th minute as Gavin Whelan blazed horribly over following a move that included Ray Kenny and Ger Rowe. Galway were earnest in the first half, but lacked creativity with Glynn and Vinny Faherty forced to scrap for every morsel.
After the restart Bray suddenly started to perform with the required urgency. Whelan was industrious in the centre of the park while the dashing Kavanagh was using his acceleration intelligently ghosting into clever position.
Whelan threaded Kavanagh through in the 55th minute, but Alvin Rouse made a smashing save to prevent the natives. Both sides opted for long range pot shots until the dying embers when the evening suddenly burst to life.
Kavanagh headed against the timber following an Aidan O’Keefe cross with 10 on the clock and Galway were fortunate to survive. United sensed that a mild surprise was now possible and proceeded to pinch a winner with only seconds remaining.
Faherty slipped Glynn away and the Claremorris native squeezed a smooth finish beyond Gough and the tiny pocket of visiting supporters celebrated gleefully. Suddenly hope was back in Galway hearts.
Bray Wanderers: Gough; Pender, Doherty (Foran, 46 ), Kenny, Cronin; Coughlan (Dunphy, 70 ), Whelan, Duggan, Kavanagh; O’Keefe, Rowe.
Galway United: Rouse; Kenna (Conneely, 80 ), Lester, Fitzgerald, McCulloch; O’Shea, Foley (McBrien, 85 ), Murphy, Fenn; Faherty (Foster, 90 ), Glynn.
Referee: D Tomney (Dublin )