Saturday, July 9, 2011

Seagulls return to winning ways

Bray Wanderers moved up to sixth in the Airtricity Premier Division as they claimed victory over UCD in the UCD Bowl on Friday night.

Sean Houston headed the Seagulls into the lead in just the second minute in a frantic start.

Students captain Michael Leahy put his side back into the game in the second half but they never looked like finding an equaliser as Bray returned to form after two heavy defeats last week.

Chris Shields doubled the lead mid-way through the half as he deflected the ball past Ger Barron in a crowded UCD penalty area.

Sean Harding replaced Sean Russell in UCD's only change from their 4-3 win over Galway United.

Danny O'Connor and Dane Massey and Dean Zambra dropped out of the Bray team, with Sean Houston Dan McGuinness and Jake Kelly coming in.

Bray started brightly and quickly moved into the lead. McGuinness was fouled by Nangle on the right, with Gary Dempsey crossing from the free for Houston to head home from eight yards.

The Seagulls were enjoying the opening stages and very much on top. Dempsey was strongly involved in a flowing move that saw McGuinness curl a shot wide from distance.

UCD's only threat in the first 20 minutes were from set pieces, with Houston doing well to clear a Marshall free as the game lost a small bit of intensity after the frantic early period.

The home side made a change in the 23rd minute as Samir Belhout replaced Robbie Benson but their challenge was made all the harder just 60 seconds later.

Jake Kelly's weak shot from outside the penalty area deflected off Chris Shields in a crowded box and rebounded into the corner of the net.

UCD offered little in their efforts to get back into the game. Darren Meenan was unable to get to Paul O'Conor cross in a rare attack, with Martin Russell's team looking short of ideas in the final third, even with Belhout's presence.

Michael Corry did well to shake off another venture forward from Houston, holding off the Bray left-back and managing to clear the ball before Wanderers could try to win it back.

Bray were happy to try to pick the Students off on the break and invited some pressure on their own defence.
Graham Rusk's quick turn and cross forced Matt Gregg into claiming the ball in the 35th minute and then Belhout let the ball get stuck under his feet when well-placed in the penalty area.

The half finished with Derek Prendergast clearing a Dean Marshall cross from a free as Bray went into the break with a two-goal advantage and looking comfortable.

Houston had to be alert to stop Belhout getting an effort in on goal on 53 minutes with the second half beginning in quite an even fashion.

But a superb delivery from Paul Corry helped the Students get back into the game three minutes later.
Corry flighted a free-kick towards the Bray goal and it was headed into the net from close-in by College captain Michael Leahy.

Bray brought on Dean Zambra for Jake Kelly and then John Mulroy for Dan McGuinness to try to impose themselves on the game once again.

Belhout was looking dangerous and his runs across the Wanderers' defence were causing plenty of problems.
Mulroy missed a great chance in the 72nd minute when he headed wide from a Gary Dempsey corner.

Chances were rare in the second half with UCD still looking a big threat from aerial balls as Prendergast had to be alert to win a battle with Prendergast from Corry's set-piece.

The closing stages were very scrappy and in the end Bray saw the game out comfortably to overcome the heavy defeats to Dundalk and Sligo Rovers in the previous week.