New-look Lilywhites held by Bray

2018-02-16 22:34:44

Bray Wanderers picked up a valuable point at Oriel Park after frustrating Dundalk on the opening night of the season.

Questions marks were being asked of The Seagulls before a ball was kicked but Dave Mackey’s men were full value for their point.

Indeed, they might even have taken all three had Dundalk goalkeeper Gary Rogers not denied Aaron Greene in the dying stages.

Dundalk, who confirmed the loan signing of Sam Byrne from Everton before the game, finished the game with six new faces on the pitch and, on this evidence, the Lilywhites will take some time to click into gear.

Stephen Kenny's side forced a number of corners in the opening stages and Robbie Benson hooked an effort over the top before Dean Jarvis, making his debut after moving from Derry City in the off season, fired just wide with a spectacular volley.

A burst of one-touch passing almost opened the Seagulls up in the 19th minute. Robbie Benson timed his run to perfection to meet Duffy's cross but goalkeeper Aaron Dillon, signed on loan from Blackburn Rovers, showed good positioning to gather.

Mackey's side grew into it as the half wore on with Greene's deflected effort spinning over the top in the 28th minute and they almost pulled in front two minutes later when Rogers had to get down to his left and push Cory Galvin's effort away to safety.

Dundalk hit back and Dillon made another assured save five minutes before the break, diverting a Benson attempt behind for a corner after Jarvis had picked out the midfielder with a superb cross.

Bray continued to do a fine job of containing the hosts in the second half and Kenny reacted by introducing Hungarian midfielder Kristian Adorjan for Dylan Connolly on the hour mark.

The former Liverpool player is not renowned for his aerial ability but Dillon still had to turn a looping header over the top in the 72nd minute as Dundalk tried to force the issue.

It looked like they were starting to build a head of steam when Benson drilled one just past the upright after good approach play by Adorjan and Duffy was rebuffed by the impressive Hugh Douglas.

However, with Byrne was waiting to be introduced, Bray almost landed a sucker punch when Dane Massey's loose pass was seized upon by substitute Daniel Kelly and Rogers had to stand tall and make a fine stop to deny the onrushing Greene.

DUNDALK FC: Gary Rogers; Sean Gannon, Stephen Folan, Dane Massey, Dean Jarvis; Chris Shields, Robbie Benson; Dylan Connolly (Kristian Adorjan 60), Jamie McGrath (Sam Byrne 81), Michael Duffy; Ronan Murray (Patrick Hoban 68).

BRAY WANDERERS: Aaron Dillon; Ronan Coughlan (Daniel Kelly 74), Hugh Douglas, Sean Heaney, Kevin Lynch; John Sullivan (Darragh Noone 62), Gary McCabe, Paul O’Conor; Dan McKenna, Aaron Greene, Cory Galvin.

REFEREE: Rob Rogers

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