Gary McCabe haunts Hoops with first-half brace

The former Shamrock Rovers forward scored twice in Bray Wanderers' 4-2 victory at the Carlisle Grounds

Gary McCabe

Image: ©INPHO/Donall Farmer

Bray Wanderers 4

Shamrock Rovers 2

Cian Roche at the Carlisle Grounds

Gary McCabe's first-half penalty capped an incredible 15-minute spell which saw Bray Wanderers score three times and secure maximum points against Shamrock Rovers.

Former Hoop McCabe got himself on the scoresheet twice before the break as Harry Kenny's side came from 1-0 down to run out winners in front of 2,225 supporters at the Carlisle Grounds.

The game was turned with the awarding of a controversial penalty in first-half stoppage time. Rovers keeper Tomer Chencinski was penalised after he clashed with Ryan Brennan in the penalty area. Chencinski appeared to shove Brennan after the the Bray forward closed down the clearance.

Referee Anthony Buttimer pointed to the spot and McCabe stepped up to give the home side a two goal cushion.

Rover's opener on 10 minutes came thanks to some good work down the left from Brandon Miele. The midfielder drifted in off the left flank before playing an incisive low pass through to Graham Burke.

Burke dropped his shoulder and turned for goal but had the presence of mind to play the ball back across the box. With Seagulls keeper Peter Cherrie out of position, Darren Meenan was on hand to apply the finish from the edge of the six-yard box.

Rovers looked destined to get a second, their rudimentary long ball style suited towering forward Gary Shaw, who persistently put pressure on the home defence.

The visitors looked in control for the most part, limiting Bray to a long range effort from McCabe and almost doubled their lead when Shaw found the side netting.

Sam Bone came to the rescue for Stephen Bradley's men, producing a wonderfully timed challenge to prevent Seagulls forward Dylan Connolly going one-on-one with the goalkeeper.

Bray should have been level on the half hour mark, when Aaron Greene's shot from distance was parried by Chencinski. Brennan delayed his effort and struck the inside of the post.

Bray did eventually draw level through McCabe on 34 minutes. Brennan and Keith Buckley linked for some terrific inter-play on the right wing. Former Gypsy Buckley took the ball to the byline before crossing for McCabe's header into the corner.

Dylan Connolly scores to put the Bray Wanderers ahead. Image: ©INPHO/Donall Farmer 

Shaw should have had his first of the game when he headed over from six yards, but it were the home side now making the most of their chances.

Connolly made it 2-1 on 46 minutes thanks to Brennan's lovely slip pass. He found Connolly in space on the right-hand side and Connolly cut inside to curl his effort into the top left hand corner.

After the penalty controversy, Rovers came looking for a second half goal that would bring them back into the game, but found themselves sinking further in the mire.

Jason Marks' low drive on 59 minutes was helped in by Simon Madden deflection to make it 4-1 to the home side. Connolly at the heart of most of Bray's good play this evening manufactured the chance with a powerful run down the right wing.

Rovers couldn't regain their composure in the second half and it was Bray who turned on the style, Greene skipping by two Rovers challenges before unleashing a shot over the bar.

Frustration began to boil over toward the end of the game, a red card for Rovers' Michael O'Connor on 81 minutes. The substitute was only on the pitch 10 minutes before he clashed with Connolly as the ball went out for a Bray throw-in.

Substitute Jamie Doona salvaged some pride for the visitors in the 87th minute with his low drive from the edge of the area finding its way through three Rovers bodies and into the bottom corner.

The result leaves Bray third on goal difference behind champions Dundalk, while another defeat leaves the Rovers sixth in the table.

Harry Kenny's side will be happy with a return of 21 points from their first ten games, nine adrift of trailblazing Cork City.