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Bray Wanderers 1 Shamrock Rovers 0

JAKE KELLY was the lone goal hero as Bray Wanderers handed Shamrock Rovers just their second defeat of the campaign.

Kelly's brilliantly struck 64th minute opportunist goal gave Bray a deserved victory in a hugely entertaining Airtricity Premier Division clash at a windswept Carlisle Grounds.

It was the Hoops' second defeat in 14 league games this season.  Pat Devlin's side are now just three points adrift of Rovers and are certainly proving the bogey team for Rovers in the current campaign having also won 1-0 at Tallaght Stadium on April 8.

The Seagulls had chance on nine minutes when Daire Doyle set up a chance from the right for fellow midfielder Danny O'Connor only for his 22 yard effort to be agonisingly just wide of the taget.

Then Kelly outpaced Hoops defender Pat Sulivan on the left and his low cross was narrowly missed by striker John Mulroy at full stretch with the ball deflected for a corner.

Striker Gary Twigg went close for Rovers with a long range effort just wide, before Bray again went on the offensive with Mulroy flicking narrowly wide of the target after a long free on the left from defender Joe Kendrick.

Doyle had a shot into the side-netting on 36 minutes after Mulroy and Danny O'Connor combined cleverly on the right. With the wind in their favour in the first half,  Bray were unable to take advantage of the difficult weather conditions.

Kelly should really have put Bray ahead just before the interval when he first miscued an effort from 16 yards and then fired the rebound over the bar when a goal seemed certain.

Chris Shields went close for Bray early in the second half when his long range effort was narrowly wide of the target after Mulroy had robbed Stephen Rice at the edge of the penalty area.

Following a foul by Adam Mitchell on Gary O'Neill at the edge of the box, winger Billy Dennehy had the resulting free blocked a wall of Bray defenders. Another free by Dennehy was just over the bar and seconds later he wasted another opportunity when shooting right-footed straight into the arms of 'keeper Matt Gregg.

Rovers were to regret missing those chances with Bray getting their noses in front on 64 minutes when skipper Gary Dempsey produced the perfect ball for Kelly to turn on the spin and shoot past 'keeper Alan Mannus from ten yards into the corner of the net for his third goal of the season.

The Hoops might have equalised on 80 minutes only for the unmarked and normally so reliable Twigg to head straight into the arms of Gregg after a clever cross from Conor McCormack on the right.       

Bray Wanderers - Gregg, S.O'Connor, Mitchell, Prendergast,  Kendrick; D.Doyle, Demsey (G.Kelly 90), D.O'Connor, J.Kelly (Massey 90); Shields (Houston 87), Mulroy.

Shamrock Rovers - Mannus; Sullivan (O'Donnell 66), Murray, Oman, Stevens; McCormack, Rice (Turner 66), Dennehy; Sheppard (McCabe 72), Twigg, O'Neill.

Referee - Anthony Buttimer (Cork).

 
 
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