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Dublin: 10°C Monday 10 May 2021

Boyle bumps Dundalk to sixth straight league win

A first-half header was enough for the Lilywhites at Oriel Park, but the home faithful might well have expected to see more goals.

Andy Boyle celebrates the opener.
Andy Boyle celebrates the opener.
Image: Tommy Dickson/INPHO

Dundalk 1

Bray Wanderers 0

ANDY BOYLE’S FIRST-HALF header set Dundalk on their way to a narrow victory over Bray Wanderers as the hosts maintained their four point advantage at the top of the SSE Airtricity League Premier Division.

It’s six straight league wins now for the champions but that is probably all this game will be remembered for come the end of the campaign, be it successful or not.

In the Seasiders’ previous two visits to Oriel Park, Dundalk had scored 12 goals en route to two of their more routine victories last season. Interim boss Harry Kenny clearly resolved to see his team tighten up their efforts this time around. They will have been buoyed in part in Ciaran Kilduff’s absence; four of his seven league goals for the Lilywhites have come against Bray.

Nothing of note had happened before Boyle broke the deadlock on 21 minutes. Neither side mustered anything even resembling an effort on goal until Chris Shields was fouled by Jason Marks. Daryl Horgan played the free kick short to Ronan Finn and his deep cross was met by the central defender at the far post. His header went back across Cherrie and in.

Shields went on a driving run through the centre soon after and his speculative effort was well held by Cherrie, while Finn did well to find space in a crowded penalty area to get a shot away but it was wide.

The closest Bray came to any sort of response was when Sean Harding flashed a shot over the bar. Karl Moore almost broke through but Boyle’s expertly timed challenge put an end to that.

The lively Moore looked Bray’s best bet as lone frontman Ger Pender struggled to hold onto the ball on the rare occasions it came his way. A Bray cross from the right did put Gary Rogers in trouble on 75 minutes and after a scramble,

Dundalk were able to clear.

John Mountney and Sean HardingDundalk's John Mountney pressures Bray's Sean Harding.Source: Tommy Dickson/INPHO

Moments later, McMillan – who had earlier missed a gilt-edged opportunity after excellent work from Horgan and Finn, forced Cherrie into an excellent diving save with a close range header. That was as close as Stephen Kenny’s men came to a second.

Bray almost had their first in the 89th minute. Dylan Connolly beat Sean Gannon in a footrace to the ball and his shot was low but Rogers got down superbly to deflect it over the bar.

DUNDALK: Gary Rogers, Sean Gannon, Chris Shields, Andy Boyle, Dane Massey, Chris Shields, Robbie Benson (Darren Meenan, 67), John Mountney (Paddy Barratt, 80), Ronan Finn, Daryl Horgan, David McMillan.

Subs Not Used: Gabriel Sava, Shane Grimes, Anton Reilly, Georgie Poynton, Keith Dalton.

BRAY WANDERERS: Peter Cherrie, Sean Harding (Gareth McDonagh, 75), Conor Kenna, Alan McNally, Hugh Douglas,

Jason Marks (Ryan Brennan, 69), Robbie Creevy, Mark Salmon, Karl Moore, Dylan Connolly, Ger Pender (Dean Kelly, 69).

Subs Not Used: Aaron Shanahan, Alan Byrne, Darragh Noone, Andrew Lewis.

REFEREE: Derek Tomney (Dublin)

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