Bray 0 Dundalk 1
Dundalk took another progressive step towards defending their SSE Airtricity League Premier Division title after narrowly accounting for Bray Wanderers by 1-0 at the Carlisle Grounds last night.
It was the visitors that started in the ascendancy as they monopolised possession but Bray’s defensive solidity ensured they enjoyed few sights on goal with Daryl Horgan firing narrowly wide in the 12th minute.
Given their focus on defensive duties, there was little to be seen from Bray at the opposite end with Graham Kelly spurning their best opportunity firing wildly over from Michael Barker’s pass.
The cohesion in Dundalk’s approach play was marked absent as they became increasingly frustrated with moves breaking down at regular intervals before Ronan Finn tested Peter Cherrie’s reflexes in the 36th minute with the former Dundalk keeper pushing the ball clear.
The deadlock was almost broken in first-half added time with Finn once again denied, with his powerful cross-shot beating Cherrie but cannoning off the crossbar and Horgan mirrored that attempt from the rebound, striking the woodwork from 20 yards.
The second half resumed with Dundalk on the ascendancy and after Towell and McMillan had both gone close, Horgan spurned a glorious chance in the 57th minute after Towell had fluffed Finn’s low delivery.
However, Bray were equally threatening as the contest became progressively stretched and both David Cassidy and Chris Lyons fired over from promising positions before substitute David Scully shot straight at Gary Rogers in the 72nd minute.
The decisive moment arrived two minutes later as substitute and debutant Ciaran Kilduff showcased his talent with a wonderfully placed header from 12 yards that crept inside Cherrie’s upright.
Bray Wanderers: Cherrie; Douglas, McNally, Cooney, Barker; McGlynn (McDonagh, 76), Sullivan, McEvoy, Kelly, Cassidy; Lyons (Scully, 68).
Dundalk: Rogers; Gannon, Gartland, Boyle, Massey; Meenan (Mountney, 88), Finn (Shields, 80), O’Donnell, Towell, Horgan; McMillan (Kilduff, 65).
Referee: Graham Kelly (Cork)
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