Tuesday, November 9, 2010


Wanderers celebrate Great Escape

The music from the Great Escape played at the end as Bray's Chris Shields went from villain to hero on a dramatic night in the Airtricity League Premier Division/First Division play-off.

Shields had earlier conceded a late own-goal as United looked like winning the tie at a wet and cold Carlisle Grounds.But two minutes into stoppage time of extra time, September Player of the Month Jake Kelly equalised to send the match to penalties.

United had the chance to win the shoot-out at 4-3 but Alan Byrne blazed over. And after seven penalty kicks each, Paul Whelan's 12-yarder crashed off the bar and over. And that left Shields to find the top corner with his attempt and send the Wicklow club's faithful in wild celebrations.

It had looked like Monaghan would get out of the First Division for
the first time since 2002 when they went ahead in the 118th minute.

Ex-Seagull Brian Gartland smacked a shot back across goal which hit the far post and rebounded back out to another ex-Wanderer, Dom Tierney, whose low effort was sliced into his own net by Shields.

That led to the away skipper running to his supporters where, worryingly, the side-line wall collapsed, just like against Shamrock Rovers back in July 2009.

After a short delay and with no injuries to the fans, the Seasiders pumped the ball into the box, two minutes into injury time.

That led to Shields heading a harmless looking ball back towards goal. However, goalkeeper Gabriel Sava spilled what should have been a routine take on his line and Jake Kelly pounced for a simple tap-in and send the tie to penalties.

So Bray remain in the Premier Division, while Monaghan will really feel this defeat after coming so close to promotion.