By Micil Glennon at the Carlisle Grounds
Bray Wanderers slipped to the bottom of the Airtricity League Premier Division after a 2-1 defeat to Cork City at the Carlisle Grounds.
The Seagulls, who have now gone nine league games without a win, fell behind to Ian Turner’s early strike from distance but equalised through Ismahil Akinade’s header in the 17th minute.
For a while it looked as though Wanderers would push on for the win, but Ciaran Kilduff fired home with ten minutes to play to win it for the Leesiders. The victory moved Cork up to sixth and away from the relegation mire.
Bray boss Pat Devlin made just two changes to the team, with captain Danny O’Connor returning after a four-game lay-off with an Achilles injury, and the previously suspended Akinade coming in for John Mulroy.
Stuart Ashton, Cork’s caretaker boss, retained faith in the 11 that snuck a 1-0 win over Bohemians last week.
Both sides had early chances, with Cork’s Danny Morrissey losing his marker on the edge of the box before shooting straight at Bray goalkeeper Darren Quigley.
Seconds later, Kieran Marty Waters almost caught Mark McNulty off his line but his chip flew just inches over.
With both defences looking sleepy, it took just seven minutes for the game’s opening goal to arrive.
Midfielder Ian Turner picked up a loose ball and found space just outside the box to lob spectacularly over Quigley.
And it really should have been two moments later as Kilduff, Danny Morrissey and Turner were denied by a succession of desperate Bray blocks.
On 15 minutes, Kilduff was put clear through on goal but seemed to have too much time and drove his shot wide.
The on-loan Shamrock Rovers man was made to rue that missed sitter as Wanderers levelled from the next attack.
Jason Byrne won a contest with Danny Murphy on the half-way line and hit a cross-field pass into the path of Waters on the left.
The winger skipped past Neal Horgan and found Akindade, who had the simple task of heading past McNulty from six yards.
After that opening flurry, the game dropped in tempo with neither side creating a clear-cut chance, but Cork’s Garry Buckley and Danny Murphy, and Bray’s Kevin O’Connor went in Derek Tomney’s book before the half-time whistle.
Byrne, who shipped a heavy knock midway through the half, failed to appear after the break and was replaced by Mulroy.
The open nature of the contest continued, however, with Bray’s Gary Dempsey and goalscorer Turner both forcing saves from the respective netminders within six minutes of the restart.
But the visitors should have been ahead on the hour mark when Dan Murray was allowed a free shot at the back post from a Turner corner, but the defender skied his effort into an old oak tree on Quinnsborough Road.
Demspey twice went close, as did Mulroy, for the Wicklow side as they pushed for the winner and began asserting themselves at the midway point of the second half.
But the pendulum swung once again and it was the Rebel Army fans who found their voice with ten minutes to play.
Danny Morrissey flicked on a bouncing ball in the Wanderers box and Kilduff fired home low past Quigley from an acute angle.
Waters had the best of the late chances for the Wicklow side but John Dunleavy timed his tackle to perfection to secure the points, which moved Ashton’s men up to sixth.
Bray are now joint bottom with Shelbourne, who lost to league leaders St Patrick’s Athletic, after Bohemians' win over Shamrock Rovers lifted them into tenth place.
Bray Wanderers: Darren Quigley, David Webster, Danny O’Connor (c) (Kevin Knight 87), Stephen Quigley, Gary Dempsey, Dean Zambra, Kevin O’Connor, Niall Cooney (Conor Earley 37), Kieran Marty Waters, Ismahil Akinade, Jason Byrne (John Mulroy, h/t).
Subs not used: Adam Mitchell, Daire Douyle, Dwayne Wilson, Shane Redmond.
Cork City: Mark McNulty, Neal Horgan, Garry Buckley, Dan Murray, Danny Murphy (Colin Healy 70), Ian Turner (John Kavanagh 74), Gearoid Morrissey, Shane Duggan, John Dunleavy, Danny Morrissey (Stephen Kenny 81), Ciaran Kilduff.
Subs not used: Rob Lehane, Kalen Spillane, Brian Lenihan, Kevin Burns.
Referee: Derek Tomney