DROGHEDA UNITED boosted their hopes of avoiding the Premier Division relegation trap-door when a dramatic winner from midfielder James Chambers in the second minute of added time gave them a deserved victory over basement club Bray Wanderers at the Carlisle Grounds last night.
Now Alan Mathews’ team leap over Sligo Rovers into eighth place in the table with their first win in five games to keep very much alive their hopes of top flight survival.
Drogheda had an early chance when a snap shot from striker Ross Gaynor was well blocked by Bray’s Aussie ‘keeper Chris O’Connor.
The visitor’s continued to dominate and were unlucky not to take the lead on nine minutes. A long throw-in on the right by defender Scott Gibb enabled Chambers to get in a shot blocked by Daire Doyle. From the rebound, Brendan McGill’s effort was blocked by Gary Cronin with the home defence in disarray.
Bray did threaten on 24 minutes when a long clearance by O’Connor allowed striker Jake Kelly to burst through the middle only for Drogheda ‘keeper Steve Williams to block his effort. From the rebound defender Conor Kenna was back to clear Dane Massey’s effort off the line with Williams stranded.
Drogheda might have broken the deadlock on the half-hour after a short corner by McGill on the left allowed Jamie Duffy to get in a high cross to the far post. The resulting header by Brian King was brilliantly pushed over by O’Connor.
King blazed over when well placed early in the second half before a free by Chambers took a nasty deflection off a wall of Bray defenders and narrowly wide of the upright.
O’Connor again came to Bray’s rescue on 63 minutes when deflecting over a Ross Gaynor effort after clever build-up work between Duffy and McGill.
Drogheda took a deserved lead on 75 minutes when Duffy shot low and hard on the turn from close range after the always industrious McGill had created the opening on the right.
But Bray were desperately unlucky not to grab an equaliser on 82 minutes when a Doyle effort from the edge of the box struck the upright with Williams beaten. From the rebound, substitute Shane O’Neill shot just wide.
Then came an equaliser for Bray with Massey firing home an angled shot in the 89th minute into the corner of the net after midfielder Dave Mulcahy had set up the opening.
But Drogheda refused to lie down and grabbed what may prove to be a precious winner in the second minute of added time.
Gaynor stole the ball from the Bray defence 35 yards from goal and delivered a pass to Duffy who played the ball across the face of goal for Chambers to tap home from close range.
BRAY WANDERERS: O’Connor; Pender, Mulcahy, Brennan, Cronin (O’Neill 34); Shields, Doyle, Brennan, Massey; Kelly (Mulroy 66), Flood (Webster 74).
DROGHEDA UNITED: Williams; Gibb, Kenna, McNally, Clarke; B McGill, Chambers, King, Crowley (E McGill 84), Chambers; Duffy, Gaynor.
Referee: Anthony Buttimer Cork).
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