It ended with honours even in the first leg Airtricity League Premier Division promotion/relegation play-off at Gortakeegan.
But Bray’s goalkeeper Matt Gregg will miss Monday's second leg at the Carlisle Grounds after an 89th minute sending off.
The former Bohs, UCD and Dundalk stopper was dismissed for taking down Monaghan sub Daragh Hanaphy just outside the box.
United bossed the first half but failed to capitalise. After on-loan Derby County player Graham Kelly flashed a shot narrowly
over the cross-bar as early as the fourth minute, the Ulster border
side were up in arms just 90 seconds later.
From a long ball over the top, Philip Hughes chased down along with the covering Danny O’Connor. Matt Gregg raced off his with the ball rebounding off Hughes. As the ball ran clear and the goal open, the striker appeared to go down under pressure from the Wanderers keeper.
But instead of awarding a penalty or a free for a dive, referee Damien Hancock waved play. Hughes and Gregg were in the thick of the action again in the 11th minute.
From Karl Bermingham’s flick on, Hughes tried his luck with an
audacious 50-yard effort. But Gregg scrambled back to to claw the ball out just yards from the goal-line.
United had another glorious chance in the 18th minute. Gabriel Sava’s free was flicked on by Hughes. And Sean Brennan got between Danny O’Connor and Dane Massey only to flash his 16-yard half volley wide of the target.
Bray finally came to life in the 21st minute. Released by Shane O’Neill, Jake Kelly beat the offside. Blocked off by Gabriel Sava, the winger’s shot was chested off the line by Paul Whelan at the near post.
But within moments at the other end, Grimes whipped in a left wing cross. It fell to Hughes who drilled wide back across the face of goal. The second half failed to live up to the hectic action in period.
It wasn’t until the 74th minute that either side threatened.
Hughes went close to adding to 21 goals this season when evading the attentions of Danny O’Connor. But skewed his 15-yard attempt into the side netting.
Monaghan United: Sava; Whelan, McMahon, Gartland, Grimes; Brennan (Hanaphy 53), Tierney, Cathal O’Connor (Costigan 85), Byrne, Bermingham (McNeill 65 mins); Hughes.
Bray Wanderers: Gregg; Doyle, Shane O’Connor, Danny O’Connor, Massey; Zambra, Dempsey, Graham Kelly (Shaw 69), Jake Kelly; Shields, O’Neill (Kane 90).
Referee: Damien Hancock (Dublin)