Bray boost but trapdoor beckons for dismal Drogs

Bray Wanderers 2

Bray boost but trapdoor beckons for dismal Drogs

Bray got their push for Europe back on track as they virtually consigned Drogheda to the trapdoor of Premier Division relegation.

Without a win since April in the top-flight, United were punished for not taking their first-half chances at the Carlisle Grounds last night as Wanderers won at home for the first time in two months.

Now adrift at the bottom of the table, the Louth side have just seven games to safe themselves from the drop.

The home side almost pressed the self-destruct button as early as the eighth minute. With keeper Peter Cherrie out of position, Conor Kenna’s clearance inside his own box was cut-out by Chris Mulhall. But the Bray skipper denied the striker on the goal-line. From the close-range rebound, Kenna again thwarted the striker on the line at the expense of a corner.

Mulhall went close again 10 minutes later when his clever turn and 22-yard low snap-shot flew narrowly wide.

United’s two-full backs then got in on the attacking act. Left full Conor Kane blazed off target on 27 from distance. Seconds later on the opposite flank, Shane Elsworthy fired over the bar form 12-yards when Adam Wixted’s cross landed at his feet.

Having been under the cosh and against the run of play, the Seagulls nearly went in front in the 36th minute. Gary McCabe curled a free from the left side of the box crashing back off the crossbar.

In what was the 60th league meeting of the clubs, the two teams had no played out a scoreless draw at the venue in 29 meetings since 1991.

And on 37 minutes a corner from the right was swung in by Kevin Lynch. Hugh Douglas lost his marker and his deflected header looped to the far corner of the net.

The woodwork prevented the visitors equalising just before the interval. Sean Russell’s 44th minute free from the edge of the 18-yard box came back off the post and hit the in-rushing Mulhall before being scrambled clear.

The second period was less than five minutes old when the Wicklow side doubled their lead.

McCabe was felled just out the penalty area. He shaped to shoot but Aaron Greene brilliantly bent the ball around the wall past a stationary Stephen McGuinness.

Drogheda pulled one back in the 67th minute. Russell’s 20-yard free cannoned off the wall and Richie Purdy crossed low from the right which Mulhall flicked in from six-yards.

In the aftermath, both Peter Cherrie and Mulhall were booked in a melee as both sets of players converged inside the net of the goal.

BRAY WANDERERS:

Cherrie; Douglas, Kenna, Clancy, Lynch (Ellis 90); Sullivan, Noone (Salmon 69); Brennan, McCabe, Moore (Marks 85); Greene.

DROGHEDA UNITED:

McGuinness; Elsworthy, Dunne, Mulcahy, Kane; Hyland (Byrne 61), Purdy; Wixted (Masterson 80), Bayly, Russell (Doyle 84); Mulhall.

Referee:

Ben Connolly (Dublin).

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