The Pats ladies took a trip up the M50 on Saturday to Greystones where they took on Bray Wanderers in their third game of the season. The ladies were off the back of two good results and with 4 points already on the board were in high spirit of a good result.
Manager Darragh O Reilly had to reshuffle his pack somewhat after picking up a handful of long-term injuries in the previous weeks. This gave an opportunity to a few players desperate to make their mark. Sticking with a 4-3-3 formation there was plenty of talent on display.
Bray started the quicker of the two sides and used the brisk breeze to rain down a series of direct balls onto the Pats defenders. The pressure began to pay off and resulted in consecutive corners for the home side. One of these from the left side was flashed across the six yard box and was intercepted by Brays Sheanna Carroll. She turned cleverly with he back to goal and unleashed a rocket into the top right corner.
The young ladies were barely able to blink when Bray forced a free kick on the edge of the box. Sorcha Melia stepped forward and snapped the ball over the wall and into the far left corner. An immediate response was required and was delivered. A neat interchange between Simone Reilly and Eve Maloney brought the play to the edge of the Bray box. She shot but the ball was claimed by the keeper.
Amber Cullen came to life and tore down the left wing and drove at the Bray backline. She managed to skip past three players before shooting just wide. She was unlucky moments later again after taking the ball towards the byline on another good run only to see her cross cut out before it could be slotted home.
The game began to open up and both sides became stretched. The centre back partnership of Holly Telford and Aoife Kavanagh were kept busy but stood firm for Pats. Telford in particular was impressive with her pace proving pivotal when dealing with the Bray counter attack.
The second half was a more fiery affair with Pats going for broke with some substitutions to change their fortunes. They began on the front foot with clear instruction to press higher on the Bray defence. With Marion Bissett playing in the six, Aimee Dobbs and Simone Reilly now occupying a more advanced position this helped the ladies to press the Bray players for possession.
This began to pay off with some half chances created off the Bray goal kicks. But just when it seemed more likely that their could be a goal to get them started they were hit with a sucker punch. The thorn in their side that was Sorcha Melia broke onto a ball played through and carried towards goal. The counter attack was ruthlessly dispatched with a powerful finish at the near post where keeper Leona Heffernan was powerless to prevent.
At three nil down most teams would be already on the bus home. But to their credit the ladies found something to keep them going. Bray began to find themselves sitting deeper and invited the pressure that came with it. The Pats ladies took advantage and went for broke.
Rebecca Yates drove towards the box on the left side of the goal. The ball broke from a tackle in front of her and she unleashed a shot like it was struck by a magic wand. The ball curved with the crossing wind and nestled into the top right corner.
Suddenly madness almost happened when the Bray defence that had been so miserly all game began to creak. Eve Maloney nearly struck gold with a clever turn inside the box but dragged the shot wide. Moments later she brought a fantastic save from the Bray keeper.
Amber Cullen then found herself skipping a challenge and again brought a save from the keeper. Bray were rocking and were unable to find a way out of their half. A flurry of chances that nobody expected this late in the game followed but it wasn’t to be and Bray celebrated a deserved win. Pats will look back upon this and wonder where that last ten mins was when they needed it.
The ladies will have a break in the league for a few weeks now to recharge and welcome injured players back onto the field. We look forward to how this team develops.