Murray spurns late penalty to carry the day for United

Galway United's Kevin Devaney who scored twice in their Premier Divison draw with Bray Wanderers last Saturday.

Bray Wanderers 3

Galway United 3

THEIR top-flight status is still in their own hands, but Galway United missed a chance to take another step up the ladder of safety on Saturday when Ronan Murray’s 92nd minute penalty was saved by Peter Cherrie at the Carlisle Grounds on Saturday.

To be honest, a draw was probably a fair result, but when you are scrapping for your life at the foot of the table, fairness doesn’t come into the equation, and United will feel it was two points dropped on the day.

They shouldn’t focus on that this week as they prepare for what could be a defining game in the race away from relegation this Friday when they host St Patrick’s Athletic in Eamonn Deacy Park (7.45pm).

Instead, they should focus on the character they showed to twice come from behind on Saturday against a side chasing a place in Europe – though murmurings at the Carlisle Grounds on Saturday suggested Wanderers will find themselves in the First Division, and not Europe, as a club blighted by alleged betting scandals and money problems this season could be hit with a massive sanction by the FAI.

“We kept fighting, there is great character and great spirit in the team, maybe we could have nicked it, but a draw was probably a fair result,” said United assistant manager, Leo Tierney, after the game – as soon as the final whistle went, Shane Keegan jumped in a car to go to Pats game at home to Limerick, United’s next two opponents.

Despite playing into the teeth of a strong wind, it was United who dominated the early stages, finding little difficulty in getting in behind a Bray defence that had a two-man wall in front of it as protection in the shape of Mark Salmon and former United player, John Sullivan.

Rory Hale and Eoin McCormack both tested Peter Cherrie in the Bray goal in the first ten minutes, before the Tribesmen took a deserved lead in the 14th minute.

Kevin Devaney picked up possession wide on the right, and he jinked past three defenders, cut inside and then used Conor Kenna as a shield to curl the ball inside the far post past the unsighted Cherrie.

It should have set the platform for United to press home their dominance even further, but instead some poor marking handed the home side an equaliser two minutes later. Ryan Brennan won possession on the right, and he squared the ball for Jason Marks who was completely unmarked eight yards out to tap home.

As has often been the case with United this season, the goal knocked their confidence, and Bray gained more of a foothold in midfield, though without ever really threatening a United back three of Alex Byrne, Stephen Folan, and Colm Horgan who were employing a very high line.

Any bit of class was coming from United, but the wind picking up as the half wore on, quality play was at a minimum, although United did have a couple of decent sights of goal before the break.

Full report in this week’s Connacht Tribune