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Another spectacular League of Ireland strike but Bray's crisis still goes from bad to worse

Gary McCabe conjured a magnificent free-kick to give the Seagulls the lead but St. Pat’s rallied to pick up a second successive win.

Image: Bryan Keane; ©INPHO/Bryan Keane/INPHO

St. Patrick’s Athletic 3

Bray Wanderers 1

Harry Manning reports from Richmond Park. 

ST. PATRICK’S ATHLETIC piled even more misery on crisis-hit Bray Wanderers as they came from behind to win 3-1 at Richmond Park.

A stunning Gary McCabe free-kick had given the Seagulls a half-time lead, however, an early second-half flurry reversed the score in Pats’ favour with goals coming from Conan Byrne and Christy Fagan in quick succession.

In injury time substitute Josh O’Hanlon wrapped up the win with a fine finish.

The Saints, donning their new Pieta House sponsored kits, dominated the opening period with Billy Dennehy, Graham Kelly and Fagan all seeing long-range efforts narrowly evade the target.

It was Fagan who spurned their best chance of the half when on 20 minutes, Dennehy found Byrne high up the right flank who chipped a delightful ball into the six-yard area.

Fagan was perfectly positioned but could only lift his header above the bar when he should have at least tested Peter Cherrie.

Almost everybody around the ground would have backed the Saints to strike first, however, it was Harry Kenny’s side who grabbed the initiative on 37 minutes.

McCabe was awarded a free-kick on the cusp of the area. He stepped up and curled it beautifully into the top right corner for his 14th of the season.

Pat’s continued to command the tie and seven minutes into the restart got their just rewards.

After a series of corners, Dennehy planted one towards the back post where Byrne powered a header into the net to tie up the score.

Five minutes later, Pat’s were in front. Byrne hit a low drive into the area which Fagan connected with brilliantly to slot into the bottom left corner.

Liam Buckley’s men looked comfortable from then on in and on 90 minutes sealed the win when Dennehy played an inch-perfect ball through to O’Hanlon who beat the offside trap before burying it beneath Cherrie.

The Saints have now recorded back-to-back league victories for the first time since March and move out of the drop-zone into 9th on 23 points.

Bray, meanwhile, drop out of the Europa League places to 4th and are now without a win in three.

St Patrick’s Athletic: Conor O’Malley; Michael Barker, Jordi Balk, Lee Desmond, Ian Bermingham (C); Conan Byrne, Killian Brennan (Rory Feely, 90), Graham Kelly, Billy Dennehy; Christy Fagan (Josh O’Hanlon, 86), Kurtis Byrne (J.J Lunney, 76)

Bray Wanderers: Peter Cherrie; Mark Salmon, Conor Kenna (C) Hugh Douglas, Kevin Lynch (Ger Pender, 46); Ryan Brennan, Jon Sullivan (Darragh Noone, 60), Keith Buckley, Jason Marks (Karl Moore, 73); Gary McCabe; Aaron Greene

Referee: Neil Doyle

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Harry Manning

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