Harps fall foul of soft goals in Bray
Thursday, 9 March 2017
Bray Wanderers 5 Finn Harps 3
FOOTBALL can be a funny old game but Finn Harps players will be finding it difficult to smile this week after some harsh decisions went against them at the Carlisle Ground in Bray last Friday night.
This second SSE Airtricity Premier Division outing of the new season served up no fewer than eight goals but some of the decisions that led to several of them were dubious to say the least and match referee, Anthony Buttimer, can probably could himself off the Harps Christmas card list this year!
Having waved away an early Harps penalty shout, his decreasing popularity then plummeted after two generous decisions led to Bray's opening two goals.
Firstly, a soft free saw McCabe's effort fumbled from under his crossbar by Ciaran Gallagher and it would fall to Flood to lash home.
Bray's penalty was next. Aaron Greene tried to whip in a cross from the left and it struck Michael Funston on the arm. McCabe calmly stroked home from 12 yards.
Ciaran O'Connor reduced the arrears for Harps only for Greene to replenish it with his first goal in Bray colours.
O'Connor grabbed a second early in the second half but another moment of controversy eased matters for Bray.
Gallagher raced from his goal to cut out a pass, headed clear and went to ground holding his head. The ball fell to McCabe, Buttimer played on, and McCabe curled home his third goal of the season into the empty net.
That would be Gallagher's last involvement and his replacement, Harry Doherty, was extremely impressive in his cameo despite being beaten by Dylan Connolly for Bray's fifth.
Ethan Boyle would round off the madness as he glanced home Paddy McCourt's 75th minute corner.
Manager Ollie Horgan's men are now pointless after the opening two games of the 2017 Premier Division season while Bray made it back-back to wins. However, there were a lot of positives for Horgan and Paul Hegarty to work on and all eyes now turn to next Friday night's big home fixture against Galway Utd (8pm k.o.) who have also lost both of their opening league fixtures. The management team will be pleased to have seen Ciaran O'Connor get of the mark with two competitive goals while Caolan McAleer had a fine game in a wide midfield role and substitute keeper Harry Doherty also impressed when he replaced the injured Ciaran Gallagher just past the hour mark. The big disappointment obviously was the concession of five goals which fortunately is rare thing in teams managed by Horgan.
Harps will hope this will be the game to finally kick start their season and the scooping up of those all important points.
Bray Wanderers: Peter Cherrie; Hugh Douglas (Gareth McDonagh, 39), Tim Clancy, Conor Kenna, Kevin Lynch; John Sullivan, Keith Buckley (Mark Salmon, 67); Aaron Greene, Gary McCabe (Karl Moore, 91), Dylan Connolly; Anto Flood.
Finn Harps: Ciaran Gallagher (Harry Doherty, 61); Ethan Boyle, Damien McNulty, Killan Cantwell Ciaran Coll; Conal McAleer, Michael Funston (Paddy McCourt, 62), Barry Molloy (Gareth Harkin, 73), Johnny Bonner; Sean Houston; Ciaran O'Connor.
Referee: Anthony Buttimer (Cork).
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