After their steadily-improving League form over the last few weeks, the Drogs travelled to Bray for their First Round Cup match with high hopes, but in the end went away empty handed after one of their worst performances of the season.
There were some mitigating circumstances – blustery wind, dreadful pitch and incompetent officiating, but in the end it was the home side who took charge at a crucial point in the second half and, in truth, the Drogs never looked like getting any kind of result.
Ollie Hamzat returned from injury to lead the attack, otherwise it was the same team that performed so well over the last few weeks.
The Drogs started well and pinned the home side in their own half for almost half an hour. Ollie had chances on 11 and 16 and Jake Corrigan had a good header from a corner well saved on 20 minutes. In the 30th minute, in the home side’s first attack, a Bray through ball saw the linesperson 5 yards behind the play waving play on and Evin came out smartly to save. But this was a portent of things to come for the Drogs and 8 minutes later, Bray send a carbon copy ball through, and with the linesperson barely past the half way line, play was waved on and Bray took the lead with an offside goal.
As the half closed, Joe Judge, who worked hard all through, set up Ollie and his shot went narrowly wide.
But the second half had hardly begun when Drogs keeper Evin attempted an ill-judged kick kick-out to Ciarán Cluskey Kelly and his pass was intercepted by a Bray attacker and the score was 2-0 to the home side. This score seemed to knock the stuffing out of the Drogs and, as hard as they tried, their attacks lacked conviction and they seemed tentative and unsure in midfield and attack. Even the introduction of 5 subs did not seem to make much difference. On 76 minutes they had a glimmer of hope when the hard-working Ken Costello was taken down in the box and Fionn Reilly scored from the resultant penalty.
But the game was put beyond doubt only 5 minutes later when the Drogs midfield and defence parted and Bray went 3-1 up with 9 minutes to go. The Drogs tried very hard right up to the final whistle, and even scrambled in a goal right on full-time, but it was not to be their day.
And that was that – not much time to mull over this display – its away to Dundalk next week.
Team: Evin Farrell, Sam McGowan, Joe Judge, Ciaran Cluskey Kelly, Jake Corrigan, Adam Clarke (Dominic Mahon 67), Adam Farrell , (Andrew Brown 57), Ken Costello (Shane Freeman 81), Ollie Hamzat (Conor Byrne 81), Tom Reilly (Dale Harding 65), Fionn Reilly.
Sub not used: Lloyd Buckley, Shaun Bannon, Sean O’Brien.