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Match Report: Bray Wanderers 1-1 Galway United

MATCH REPORT: Bray Wanderers 1-1 Galway United (Men’s First Division)

Galway United earned a hard-fought point at the Carlisle Grounds on Friday evening as they drew 1-1 with Bray Wanderers.

The Tribesmen played the majority of the second half with 10 men and the point sees United maintain their now five-game unbeaten run while their lead at the top of the table now stands at 10 points.   

The points and the penalties were shared between the sides as United took the lead in the eighth minute of the contest when David Hurley calmly tucked his penalty away after Stephen Walsh had been fouled in the Bray penalty area. The hosts were level just minutes into the second half when Chris Lyons thumped his penalty into the roof of the net following a foul by Rob Slevin which saw the defender sent off.  

John Caulfield made two changes to the side that defeated Athlone Town last time out, with Regan Donelon and Rob Slevin returning to the defence in place of Oisin O’Reilly and Maurice Nugent.  

Walsh kicked off for the visitors on the east coast and United had an early effort on goal when the ball sat up nicely for captain Conor McCormack who struck from the edge of the box, but his effort flew just over Alex Moody’s crossbar with just one minute on the clock. 

Bray had possession in the opening five minutes as they looked to break down the Galway rearguard, but their only real moment of opportunity came after four minutes when a mix-up at the back between Regan Donelon and Brendan Clarke resulted in a corner for the home side. The subsequent corner failed to conjure up a chance for the hosts, however.  

The biggest moment of the first half came in the seventh minute when Francely Lomboto controlled and got the ball to Walsh who was brought to ground when he attempted to beat his man. David Hurley stepped up to the spot and sent Moody the wrong way as he calmly rolled the ball into the bottom left corner for his ninth of the season, making him United’s top goalscorer.  

Lomboto was involved again as he got the better of his man down the left wing before crossing into the area, but nobody could meet it in maroon. Moments later, he took the ball down and laid it off to Walsh again and the United number 7 took aim, but his effort was dragged wide of the post. 

Walsh showed his quality as with 23 minutes played, he played a beautiful flick in behind which released Vincent Borden who looked to be bearing down on goal, but Moody was out of his goal to deal with the danger for the hosts. 

The first yellow card of the game came in the 24th minute as Callum Thompson fouled Conor O’Keeffe late and high, resulting in a gash on the United right back’s head.  

O’Keeffe was forced off the field to receive treatment and while the visitors were down to 10 men, Bray had a spell of possession which resulted in a chance on goal, but the effort went wide to the relief of the Tribesmen. O’Keeffe came back on five minutes after being fouled, sporting a bandage on his head and the makeshift number 33 jersey in place of his blood-stained number 2 shirt.  

In first half stoppage time, Bray had their first real chance on goal as Chris Lyons was played through and just before entering the penalty area, he was taken down by Rob Slevin and the United centre back received a yellow card.  

Darren Craven stood over the resulting free kick, and it looked to be destined for the top corner, but Clarke was equal to it to make an outstanding save to force it out for a corner and ultimately keep the visitors ahead as the half time whistle rang around the Carlisle Grounds.  

The Tribesmen started the second half similarly to how they started the first, as Lomboto continued to cause Bray problems down the left wing. The Galway man got the better of his man again before pulling a dangerous ball back into the box which found Hurley, but he failed to make any meaningful contact and the effort went wide of the target.  

Just one minute later, the hosts found their way back into the game as the referee pointed to the spot and reduced the visitors to 10-men. Len O’Sullivan crossed the ball in to Lyons from the left, who was deemed to have been brought down by Slevin who was then shown his second yellow card. Lyons stepped up and fired the ball into the roof of the Galway net and the sides were level again.  

The pattern of the game completely changed as a result of this, and the remainder of the second half saw Bray controlling possession and looking to break down the 10 men of Galway, while United looked to hit the hosts on the counter attack.  

Despite the numeric advantage, the hosts struggled to create clear-cut chances and with 57 minutes played, Lomboto offered United some much-needed respite with a surging run down the left and he was forced to the ground by Max Murphy who was shown a yellow card.  

Rob Manley was introduced with 63 minutes played and was immediately thrust into the action against his former club. The ball was played up to the striker and he held it up brilliantly before laying off to Hurley who got the ball out of his feet before striking an effort which had to be blocked.  

Manley then thought he had put United back in front when he was played through and flicked the ball over the onrushing Moody and rolled the ball into the empty net, but the linesman’s flag was up for offside.  

Clarke was called into action with 15 minutes left in the game, as Conor Crowley got into the United box on the right-hand side and struck towards the near post, but Clarke was well-positioned to palm the ball over for a corner.  

Manley broke away for the visitors from the Bray corner and relieved the pressure again with a driving run at the Seagulls defence before forcing a corner.  

Bray had their biggest chance of the half in the 82nd minute when Craven had a free header just outside the six-yard box, but he somehow failed to work Clarke in the United goal.  

The 10-men of Galway remained resilient in defence for the remainder of the game to earn a hard-fought point in a determined effort by the Tribesmen which sees them remain top of the league with a 10-point gap now to second-placed Waterford.  

Manager John Caulfield spoke to the media after the full-time whistle: 

It was a game where you felt you needed the second goal.

“We have character and resilience.

“Every game is a different challenge, and tonight a draw was the best we deserved in the circumstances.

‘Today we were down to 10 men, and you have to show your character and you have to work extra hard, and the lads were outstanding in doing that.”


Bray Wanderers: A. Moody, M. Murphy, D. Webster, J. Hudson, L, O’Sullivan (Z. Donohue 90’), L. Lovic, D. Craven, B. Feeney, C. Thompson (J. Power 71’), C. Crowley, C. Lyons (C. Davis 84’). 

Galway United: B. Clarke, C. O’Keeffe, R. Slevin, K. Brouder, R. Donelon (O. O’Reilly 72’), V. Borden (M. Nugent 63’), C. McCormack, E. McCarthy, F. Lomboto (R. Manley 63’), D. Hurley, S. Walsh.