Brilliant Bray coast past dismal Drogs

THREE goals in a blistering five-minute spell during the first half paved the way for a Bray Wanderers stroll at Hunky Dorys Park to boost their hopes of Setanta Cup qualification.

The Seagulls made a dream start by scoring inside 90 seconds when Gary Shaw gained possession in his own half and waltzed through the Drogheda midfield and defence unchallenged, before driving a low shot past Stephen Trimble.

Tiarnan Mulvenna had a chance to restore parity almost immediately when he was teed up by strike partner Jordan White, but Darren Quigley in the Bray goal gathered the greasy ball cleanly.

It was a wide-open game, but the next goal attempt didn’t come until the 16th minute when Peter McMahon’s long-range drive for the home side was blocked by a defender.

Trimble was then called into action at the other end, parrying a fierce shot by Jake Kelly.

Drogheda almost unlocked the visitors’ defence in the 23rd minute when Jordan White dummied Mulvenna’s pass into the path of Lee Lynch, who drove a low shot narrowly wide.

McMahon then had another shot blocked, this time by Adam Mitchell, so it was against the run of play when Bray doubled the lead. Dan McGuinness wrong-footed a static home defence and tapped into an empty net on 32 minutes.

Drogheda immediately lost possession from the restart and the ball was worked out to McGuinness whose cross was headed home by Mulroy — 3-0 to the visitors.

And even worse was to follow for the hosts in the 37th minute when Gary Dempsey spotted Trimble off his line and chipped to the top corner of the net.

There were strong claims for a Drogheda penalty in the last minute of the half when Mulvenna seemed to be dragged down, but referee Neil Doyle wasn’t convinced.

Instead, the home side could have been further adrift early in the second half when Kelly and Daire Doyle failed to trouble Trimble when left unmarked in the box.

Drogheda nearly pulled a goal back on 57 minutes when Gavin Brennan curled a free kick narrowly wide after a trip on substitute Dinny Corcoran.

The home side finally gained some consolation for an improved second-half performance on 73 minutes when Philip Hand’s inswinging free kick took a touch off the back of Bray substitute Conor Murphy and spun past stranded keeper Darren Quigley.

Murphy almost cancelled out his own goal with one at the right end as the game petered out.

DROGHEDA UNITED: Trimble; Quigley, Gannon, Rogers, Hand; M O’Brien, Lynch, McMahon, Brennan; Mulvenna, White. Subs: Clarke for McMahon (46min), Corcoran for White (46min), Melis for Hand (81min).

BRAY WANDERERS: Quigley; Doyle, Webster, Mitchell, Butler; McGuinness, Zambra, Dempsey, Kelly; Mulroy, Shaw. Subs: Murphy for Shaw (65min), Early for Kelly (81min), Waters for Mulroy (85min).

Referee: Neil Doyle (Dublin).

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