Nightmare start costs Bray Wanderers in the Leinster Senior Cup

Bray Wanderers have been knocked out of the Leinster Senior Cup after they were beaten 3-1 by St. Patrick’s Athletic at the Carlisle Grounds this afternoon.

In a tale of two halves, the Seagulls made a disasterous start to the game and were down 3-0 after the first 10 minutes. A spirited second half display saw Bray grab one goal back but were unable to retrieve the deficit.

The first goal of the game came on five minutes when a sloppy clearance from Bray goalkeeper Alex Nevin led to St. Pat’s earning a free-kick wide on their right hand side. Owen Garvan swung the ball into the box which allowed Ryan Brennan to flick home.

It got worse just over a minute later when a cross from Conan Byrne from the left was headed home by Kevin Toner to make it 2-0. It was three shortly thereafter when another Byrne delivery was put past Nevin in goal by Christy Fagan.

The start seemed to stun the hosts, who struggled to get any sort of grip on the game as the half progressed. Despite starting with five in midfield and three at the back, the Seagulls were unable to cope as St. Pat’s broke through the lines at will.

Ryan Brennan and Christy Fagan both had strikes miss the target, while Graham Kelly should have made it four but was only able to head wide at the far post when he should have hit the target.

Bray slowly grew into the game in the last five minutes of the half and should have had one back but Paul O’Connor could only fire wide from eight yards off a Kevin Lynch cut back.

The second half saw a far more spirited display from Bray as they attempted to claw back the deficit. An early chance for O’Connor was well saved by Maher in the Pat’s goal and the same man saw a shot from half way sail wide as the Seagulls mounted more and more pressure on the visitors.

They got their goal back when a magnificent cross-field ball from John Sullivan found Hugh Douglas on the right-hand side. The Bray defender rounded his Pat’s counterpart and drove the ball into the bottom right corner of Maher’s goal to make it 3-1 on 68 minutes.

Dave Mackey’s side continued to push hard for a second. Aaron Greene made a mazy run into the box, only to see his shot blocked and McCabe’s follow-up blasted over the bar.

Minutes earlier, Greene almost scored sensationally when his strike from inside his own half smashed off the cross bar and bounced on the Pat’s goalline and away.

Due to a need to commit men forward, Bray found themselves light at the back. Alex Nevin was called into rare second-half action on four occasions late on but kept Pat’s out on each of those occasions.

Gary McCabe had a shot from the edge of the box which went wide as Wanderers tried persistently to rescue what looked like a lost cause in the first half.

Despite their impressive second half showing, Bray were unable to salvage the game as the tie ended 3-1.

Bray Wanderers (3-5-2): Nevin; Douglas, Lynch, Heaney; Noone, Gibbons, Sullivan, O’Conor, Galvin; McCabe (c), Greene.

St. Patrick’s Athletic (4-4-2): Maher; Bermingham, Toner, Desmond, Madden; Garvan, Byrne, Kelly, Brennan; Clarke Fagan.

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