Galway United scored an emphatic 6-0 victory over Bray Wanderers to move 10 points clear at the top of the SSE Airtricity League First Division table on Friday evening. The win sees United stretch their incredible winning run to nine with a quarter of the season played.
The goals were split between the first and second halves as Killian Brouder, Vincent Borden, and David Hurley netted in the opening 45 minutes to put the Tribesmen 3-0 up at the break. The second half saw Borden grab his second of the game before substitutes Mikie Rowe and Ibrahim Keita bagged United’s fifth and sixth of the evening to secure a memorable three points.
United kicked off at Eamonn Deacy Park and started the game the brighter of the two sides. With six minutes played, the ball was passed out wide to Francely Lomboto who took on his man and crossed low into the area, the Bray defence managed to clear only as far as Vincent Borden whose shot was tipped over the crossbar by Alex Moody in the Wanderers goal.
United remained on the front foot and took the lead in the 10th minute when a dangerous corner kick delivery found Conor O’Keeffe at the back post – the full back dug out a beautiful cross and Killian Brouder headed back across goal and into the top corner for his first of the season.
O’Keeffe was involved again just moments later as Ben Feeney was played in over the top for the visitors and got his shot away, but his effort was brilliantly blocked by the United man to deny Feeney his fifth of the season.
The Tribesmen regained control of the contest and doubled their lead when McCarthy slipped the ball to Borden who turned his man and fired a right-footed strike across goal and into the bottom corner with 22 minutes played.
The visitors looked to battle back immediately as Feeney fashioned an opportunity for Jake Walker, but his header was well saved by Brendan Clarke.
Two soon became three as with 28 minutes on the clock the referee pointed to the spot to award United a penalty for a handball offence and David Hurley was standing over his third spot-kick in the last two games. Hurley made no mistake as he coolly struck the penalty down the middle to give United a three-goal lead.
The hosts started the second half with more great attacking play as Borden crossed deep to pick out Stephen Walsh who controlled brilliantly and laid it off to the onrushing McCarthy who struck well and forced a smart stop from Moody.
Mikie Rowe was introduced and had a great opportunity to open his account for the season within three minutes of coming on. Walsh, who worked tirelessly all game long, knocked the ball down to Hurley who flicked the ball over the top to Rowe and he struck a first time volley just over the bar.
Bray came close to making it 3-1 just after the hour mark as a cross was headed towards his own goal by Rob Slevin and it forced Brendan Clarke into an outstanding save to keep it out. Clarke then launched a perfect counter-attack as he picked out Walsh who held the ball up, took on two defenders, and rolled the ball into the path of Borden who thumped an effort past Moody from the edge of the box to make it 4-0 and grab his seventh goal of the season.
Less than 10 minutes later, Walsh latched onto a loose ball which Moody was already coming out to claim, got there first, and was clattered into by the Wanderers keeper to win United their second penalty of the game. Substitute Mikie Rowe stepped up this time and rifled his penalty into the top left corner to give the Tribesmen a five-goal advantage.
The final quarter of the game saw United turn to the bench, which led to minutes for youngsters Steven Healy and Michael McCullagh as well as the experience of Maurice Nugent and Ibrahim Keita. With six minutes left of normal time, Borden crossed the ball from the right into the path of Keita who looped his shot over the advancing Moody and into the far bottom corner to close out a resounding 6-0 victory for John Caulfield’s men.
United, as they have all season, showed their clinical edge as they took their chances at crucial moments, as well as displaying their defensive solidity, earning themselves their sixth clean sheet in their opening nine games of the season.
Assistant Manager Ollie Horgan spoke post-match:
We took our chances today better than we did in other games and we need to continue that”
“We did play quite well at times, and we move on to Kerry”
David Hurley spoke after the game after adding to his tally for the season:
“You need to be clinical in this league and that’s what we were tonight and thankfully we got the result”
Galway United: B. Clarke, C. O’Keeffe, R. Slevin, K. Brouder, C. Horgan, E. McCarthy (M. McCullagh 76’), V. Borden, C. McCormack (M. Nugent 68’), F. Lomboto (M. Rowe 55’), D. Hurley (S. Healy 76’), S. Walsh (I. Keita 76’).
Bray Wanderers: A. Moody, J. Hudson (D. Webster 46’), D. Massey, M. Murphy, C. Omorehiomwan, G. Almirall (C. Davis 86’), B. Feeney, H. Groome (D. Craven 51’), L. Lovic, J. Walker (C. Knight 84’), C. Lyons (G. Shortt 74’).