Cobh Ramblers 1 Bray Wanderers 2
DARREN Murphy is still waiting for his first league victory as Cobh Ramblers boss, after Bray Wanderers kept their promotion push on track with this win at St Colman’s Park.
For this particular encounter Ramblers handed a first start to Luke Kennedy, while there was a 50th appearance for Stephen O’Leary, with former Waterford FC man Regix Madika involved in his first matchday squad of the season.
Although it was Bray that were the only ones to have something to play for in terms of the promotion picture, Ramblers knew a result here would be much welcomed for them. That is because Wexford reduced the gap at the bottom of the table down following their win against Athlone Town.
The opening 45 minutes was a generally evenly contested affair. Clear-cut chances were few and far between in the main, with only flashes of the attacking potential in both sides being left to flourish.
It was a determined start to proceedings by Ramblers, as they threatened the Bray rear-guard during the opening ten minutes on two occasions.
Gary Cronin’s Bray side, who are seeking to rubber-stamp their place in the end-of-season promotion places, had a decent opportunity on 20 minutes. Ryan Graydon showed good footwork to tee up Dylan Barnett, but he blazed over the crossbar from the edge of the box.
The opening period was generally a competitive and evenly contested affair. On the midway mark of the first half, Griffin flashed a fine cross across the box for Cobh, but unfortunately, nobody was on the receiving end to make it count.
Bray, through their attacking threats such as Brandon Kavanagh, Ryan Graydon and Gary Shaw, looked to impose their authority on proceedings. But they were faced by an organised and hardworking Cobh defence.
Ramblers had another chance on 33 minutes when Lee Devitt saw his low effort gathered comfortably by Wanderers shot-stopper Maher.
On-loan Shamrock Rovers man Kavanagh picked up the ball in an excellent position in the box with five minutes remaining in the opening half, but Ramblers defender Walsh made a fine challenge to clear the danger.
Mark Byrne flashed a well-struck effort for Bray wide of the mark on 45 minutes. The sides went in level following the conclusion of a tight opening half of play.
Shaw looked to strike from distance for the visitors early in the second half, but his effort was blocked down by the Ramblers backline.
A few minutes later Bray did strike and went into the lead after capitalizing on a mistake in the Cobh defence. From a ball across the box by Byrne, Ryan Graydon was on hand to tap the ball home at the far post from close range.
That goal gave the Wicklow side a boost and they were piling the pressure on in search of a second, with Quinn shooting wide with a driving effort from distance by Kavanagh.
Ramblers were awarded a penalty kick following good play from Regix Madika as he raced through, with Bray being reduced to ten men as Dan Jones was sent off.
Jason Abbott stepped up and he tucked the spot-kick away nicely to the corner of the net. That was the tonic Cobh needed it seemed, as Ciaran Griffin was not far away with a strike from distance.
But Bray bounced back straight away to go back into the lead. Richie O’Farrell was on hand to slot the ball home neatly from a Graydon cross. Cobh ended the game well, but were unable to find that levelling goal.
Ramblers are at home action next time out again when John Caulfield’s Galway United make the trip to St Colman’s Park.