Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Seagulls fly high past poor Drogs

Skipper for the night Stephen Quigley's own goal settled this dour Premier Division contest at Hunky Dorys Park as Bray Wanderers continued their remarkable league run with a narrow victory.

Drogheda suffered a blow shortly before kick-off when left-back Philip Hand had to be withdrawn, forcing a reshuffle which saw Stephen McCrossan promoted from the bench.

But the Seagulls were unable to force an opening in the opening quarter as both sides cancelled each other out.

A loss of concentration in the home defence resulted in the first chance of the game as Gary Dempsey's quickly taken corner picked out Danny O'Connor whose firm downward header was diverted round the post by Drogheda keeper Stephen Trimble.

The pace of the game increased noticeably after that and the home side fashioned their first chance when Darragh McNamara controlled Alan McNally's diagonal pass, cut inside but was off balance as he shot and the ball flew well wide.

But it was Bray who broke the deadlock on 33 minutes when Danny O'Connor played the ball wide to Daire Doyle in space and his cross was deflected in off the boot of Drogheda's Stephen Quigley despite the efforts of teammate Victor Ekanem to stop the ball on the line.

Drogheda responded with a brilliant move involving McNamara and Dinny Corcoran who twice exchanged passes before the latter drove a shot narrowly wide, but the final opportunity of the first half fell to the visitors as their skipper Gary Dempsey blasted over the bar after being teed up by Shane O'Neill.

The early stages of the second half mirrored those of the first as goalmouth action was at a premium, with a wayward Danny O'Connor shot the only attempt in a forgettable half-hour.

Drogheda were forced to commit more men forward as time began to tick down, and the Seagulls nearly exposed them on 79 minutes when Dempsey's pass picked out substitute Dane Massey who drove the ball narrowly wide.

But the Seagulls nearly paid for their failure to kill off the game when McNamara's 25-yard shot was blocked behind by Adam Mitchell and McNamara's corner kick was headed just past Matt Gregg's right-hand upright by Alan McNally.

And right at the death Ekanem volleyed narrowly over the bar, but Bray held on for three hard-earned points.