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League Report: Bray Wanderers 1 – 0 Finn Harps – The home of Irish football

Shane Griffin’s goal before half-time saw Bray Wanderers beat Finn Harps in a result that saw the Seagulls climb to third in the table.

Friday night was a story of contrasts for these two clubs heading into this bank holiday round.

While Bray were reeling as Cobh Ramblers saw their four-match winning streak snapped, Harps arrived at Carlisle grounds buoyed by a first win in four over Treaty United.

Knowing that a win would see them leapfrog the Donegal men, Bray started brightly, but goalkeeper Conor Walsh, on only his second league start, was not overly tested in the opening stages.

Not that Harps, who substituted at fifth, scored the home goal as a Bray netminder. Stephen McGuinness got off to a quiet start as he looked for his fourth clean sheet of the campaign.

Three of the last five league matches between these two had ended in draws, so it was a fairly even, if quiet, opening.

Backed by the home faithful, Bray fought to gradually take the lead as captain. Darren Craven’s solid goal was saved by Walsh.

Striker, Kieran Cruise, made his presence known with a crafty turn centrally before his pass released striker Cristian Magerusan, who was expertly denied by Walsh.

Cruise and Harry Groome, goalscorer in Bray’s win here last season, both came close before the Seagulls finally broke through.

On the right, Max Muphy found Freddie Turley’s run into the penalty area. Turley’s pullback found an unmarked Griffin who gratefully steered the close-range opportunity past Walsh.

Apparently disgruntled, Finn Harps head coach Darren Murphy made a triple substitution during the break.

That led to a slight improvement in possession, but the away side were denied an equalizer when McGuinness parried Patrick Ferry’s fierce effort.

Finn Harps made more of a fist of it, with the experience of David Cawley and Ryan Rainey on the pitch, and looked for an equalizer.

Another substitute, Sean O’Donnell, saw his cross/shot from the wing claimed by McGuiness.

At the other end, Griffin’s curling corner had to be chopped away by a well-positioned Noe Baba, with Bray looking to add a potentially decisive second goal.

Magerusan thought he might have a chance to score on the counter-attack, but Baba once again came to Harps’ rescue with an immaculate recovery tackle deep in his own backcourt.

O’Donnell was the next to threaten, dancing upfield from the right wing only to see a combination of Craven and the excellent Evan Osam dispossess him on the edge of the area.

Bray’s substitutes helped secure the victory, while Zach Nolan impressed later with some crucial blocks.

The busy week continues for both sides, with Bray traveling to Athlone Town on Friday evening. Harps will simultaneously host Longford Town at Finn Park.

Bray Wanderers: Stephen McGuinness; Max Murphy, Evan Osam, Darren Craven ©, Harry Groome, Jamie Duggan, Freddie Turley (Guillermo Almirall 80), Paul Murphy, Shane Griffin, Kieran Cruise (Zach Nolan 80), Cristian Magerusan (Conor Knight 85).

Subs not used: Benjamin Clark (gk), Thomas Morgan, Zayd Abada, Philip Cooney.

Finn Harps:Conor Walsh; Jamie Watson, Matty Makinson, Noe Baba, Luke O’Brien, Darragh Coyle (Success Edogun 46), Patrick Ferry (Mark Mbuli 74), Tony McNamee ©, Chris Lotefa (Sean O’Donnell 46), Stephen Doherty (Ryan Rainey 66 ) ), Max Johnston (David Cawley 46).

Subs not used:Tim Heimer (gk), Shane McMonagle.

Referee:Jason Moore.

Presence: 726. Player of the match: Kieran Cruise (Bray Wanderers).