Bray Wanderers 0 Cork City 1
Kieran Sadlier was the villain turned hero for Cork City as, just two minutes after Bray Wanderers goalkeeper Lee Steacy had saved his second-half penalty, he bounced back to score the goal which ultimately decided the game and put the holders through to the second round of the FAI Cup.
Steacy had been a late replacement for Peter Cherrie in the Bray goal but the ‘keeper was mainly confined to a watching brief in the game’s opening phase as, after a sustained spell of early pressure on the Cork goal, the home side carved out their first clear chance, Ryan Brennan heading narrowly wide from a Karl Moore cross in the 12th minute.
City finally lifted the mini-siege four minutes later to mount their first meaningful attack, the hitherto isolated Karl Sheppard shooting just past the post after a superb run up the left and driven low cross by Sadlier.
Then, on the half-hour mark, after a one-two with Stephen Beattie on the opposite flank, Sheppard got in behind Conor Kenna but this time pulled his shot well wide of Steacy’s far post.
Soon after, following clever work in midfield by the increasingly influential Gary Buckley to put the striker through, Sheppard got his third shot of the game away but this time it was comfortably saved at his near post by the Bray ‘keeper.
At the other end, Ryan Brennan sent a looping header just over Mark McNulty’s crossbar from a Mark Salmon cross before, with the very last kick of a largely uneventful first half, the Bray number 7 came close again when drilling an angled drive just beyond the Cork ‘keeper’s far post.
If it hadn’t exactly been classic cup fare in the first 45, at least the visiting Cork fans had been able to amuse themselves by chanting “nuked in the morning, you’re getting nuked in the morning” at their hosts.
As it happened, the game fairly exploded into life in the 57th minute after Aaron Greene, with something of a striker’s tackle, tripped the impressive Shane Griffin in the Bray box and referee Robert Harvey had no hesitation in pointing to the spot. Up stepped Keiran Sadlier to do the needful but his shot was too close to the ‘keeper pushed away for a corner by Steacy.
It proved to be a short-lived reprieve for the home side, however, and an equally short wait for Sadlier to finally open his account for Cork City as, following a neat exchange of passes with Griffin, he crashed the ball into the top corner of the net to put the visitors one-up in the 59th minute.
With City now firmly in control, the classy Gary McCabe was a belated introduction for Bray six minutes later but it was Cork substitute Achille Campion who should have made the tie safe for the Leesiders when, with Steacy all at sea having come for a cross, he could only drive a close-range volley straight at Conor Kenna on the line.
And, though well on top in the second half, the holders almost paid for their failure to claim the insurance goal when, in the game’s dying moments, McCabe’s well-struck free from 25 yards required McNulty to be alert in gathering under the angle of crossbar and post.
Bray Wanderers (4-2-3-1) - Steacy; Buckley, Kenna (capt), Clancy, Moore; Salmon, Sullivan; Marks, Noone, Brennan; Greene.
Subs. Pender for Marks (60 mins), McCabe for Noone (64 mins), Lynch for Salmon (84 mins), Ellis, Flood & Douglas (not used)
Cork City (4-2-3-1) - McNulty; McCormack, Williams, Delaney, Griffin; Bolger (capt), Morrissey; Beattie, Buckley, Sadlier; Sheppard.
Subs. Campion for Beattie (61 mins), McCarthy for Williams ( 81 mins), Keohane, Dooley, Coffey, Ellis & Smith (not used)
Referee: Robert Harvey (Dublin)
Official attendance: 531