Struggling United facing the drop after two more defeats

Galway United 1

Bray Wanderers 2

IT’S not that long ago since any game against Bray Wanderers was perceived as arguably the best opportunity to secure the easiest three points of the season, United having convincing 4-0 and even 5-0 victories over the Seaside club in the past two seasons alone.

However those hammerings are soon becoming a distant memory as while Bray, a team synonymous with always just barely evading the drop are now in prime position to steal a European spot, United are left to scrap in a relegation dogfight.

Once more the all too familiar storyline played out again of the home side leaking two early goals only to gallantly fight back in the second half in another losing effort, a second half header from Stephen Folan not enough to cancel out earlier efforts from Mark Salmon and Anthony Flood.

With three games in seven days to contend with, United boss Shane Keegan made five changes to the side which faced Sligo on Saturday, allowing Gary Kinneen to start in a league game for the first time and giving new striker Eoin McCormack a chance to make his debut.

The Laois man would have hoped the changes might give his side an early edge, however both teams struggled in the opening ten minutes, putting some good passes together around the middle but not really getting anywhere near testing the two keepers.

Despite a poor start, it was the visitors who eventually took control of the contest soon after and really should have taken the lead when they broke at speed and found Ryan Brennan with a ball over the top, but his tame effort was easily saved.

Harry Kenny’s charges kept pushing for an opening goal and the constant pressure seemed to be getting to United as defensive lapses on 18 minutes soon saw them go a goal behind.

A poor back pass saw Bray earn a corner and when Ronan Murray failed to clear the danger, it left Gary McCabe with a chance to set up former Galway striker Anto Flood, and despite being surrounded by three defenders, he was able to head home to give the Seasiders an early lead.

Eoin McCormack hadn’t played in Eamonn Deacy Park since scoring a hat trick for Ballinasloe Town in the Connacht Junior Cup final, and he came agonisingly close to making it four goals in two games when he chased down a Conor Winn kick out, and after beating defender Keith Buckley for pace, he wonderfully flicked the ball past an outrushing Peter Cherrie only for his shot to roll heartbreakingly wide.

Full report in this week’s Connacht Tribune.