DAVE SCULLY is quickly becoming a cult hero around Finn Park – and the Dubliner was the match winner in Ballybofey again tonight.
Finn Harps 1 Bray Wanderers 0
Scully’s ninth-minute goal sent Harps on their way to another precious home win with Bray Wanderers the latest side to get a glimpse of how difficult Finn Park can be for visitors.
Scully scored three goals in 23 appearances for Bray last season, but has endeared himself to Finn Park’s frequenters – and sank his former club here before leaving to an ovation when replaced by Michael Funston nine minutes from time.
Picture caption: Dave Scully celebrated his early goal for Finn Harps against Bray Wanderers. Picture by Gary Foy, newsandsportfiles
A goal on the first night of the season when Harps finally scratched their north-west derby itch against Derry City penned his name into folklore.
Scully’s endeavour caught Horgan’s eye and has impressed so far this season, with his goal here handing the Ballybofey brigade a useful, if jittery win.
Sean Houston broke powerfully from deep inside his own half, the Letterkenny man surging through before slipping to his left to Ryan Curran.
Curran’s pace drew goalkeeper Peter Cherrie and a low centre was tapped home by Scully, the Dubliner netting against the club he played with last season.
Just seconds previously, there had been anxious looks at the referee, Ray Matthews, when Dylan Connolly went down under Packie Mailey’s challenge inside the box.
The appeals were feeble, though and Houston – who has a spell at Bray seven years ago – seized possession and galloped away to set up the opener, which came slightly against the run of play.
Robbie Creevy’s header grazed the brows of Richard Brush in the second minute after connecting to Hugh Douglas’s cross with Andrew Lewis stabbed another attempt straight at the Harps netminder.
Just after Scully’s opener, another ex-Bray player, Adam Hanlon, came close to doubling the lead but a swerving effort from distance was superbly turned over by Cherrie with the top corner beckoning.
The nerves whistled through the home support as the first half drew to an end, with Brush saving from Sean Harding and Connolly, in between a close-range prod by Lewis that was tipped over by the Harps stopper.
Having fielded the same team for three League games in succession for the first time in his tenure in the games against Sligo, Longford and Galway, Hanlon’s absence meant the roster was altered for Monday’s 2-1 defeat against St Patrick’s Athletic.
Hanlon returned here, in place of Ethan Boyle, who sat out because of a knock sustained during a game from which Harps left empty handed having deserved, at least, a share of the spoils.
Both Horgan and Curran mentioned in that fixture’s aftermath about the frustrations of recent ‘moral victories’.
With Harps hanging onto their lot here, the gaps appeared for Bray during the second half but, while the Seagulls peppered Brush with a series of crosses as the clocked ticked, there were little in the way of chances for Mick Cooke’s men.
Connolly fired over one that cried out for a finishing touch, but none was forthcoming and Lewis just lacked a little belief with an attempted lob that drifted harmlessly wide.
Tony McNamee had the best opportunity for the home side in part two, heading wide with Cherrie beaten by Hanlon’s cross.
Bray forced seven second-half corners and when fourth official Marc Lynch held a board showing five minutes of added time, it will hardly have helped those of a nervous disposition – but Harps held on for their third win of the campaign.
Finn Harps: Richard Brush; Damien McNulty, Keith Cowan, Packie Mailey, Ciaran Coll; Adam Hanlon (Raymond Foy 67), Sean Houston, Gareth Harkin (Matthew Crossan 87), Dave Scully (Michael Funston 81); Tony McNamee; Ryan Curran.
Bray Wanderers: Peter Cherrie; Hugh Douglas, Paul Finnegan (Alan Byrne 35, Jason Marks half-time), Conor Kenna, Sean Harding; Dylan Connolly (Gareth McDonagh 77), Robbie Creevy, Ryan Brennan, Karl Moore; Andrew Lewis, Ger Pender.
Referee: Ray Matthews (Mullingar).Tags: