Limerick FC and Bray Wanderers produced a goal fest at the Markets Field on Friday night as Limerick won 5-3 thanks to a first-half brace by Chiedozie Ogbene and goals from Rodrigo Tosi, Bastien Hery and Dean Clarke. Bray scored through Ryan Brennan, Aaron Greene and a penalty by Gary McCabe.
The attacking flair and lack of defensive structure which was to be evident all night, was on show from the first minute of the game as Ryan Brennan arrowed a shot straight into the hands of Freddy Hall from distance. Immediately, Rodrigo Tosi responded with a shot of his own which sailed well over Peter Cherrie’s crossbar.
Former Limerick player Aaron Greene was next to try his luck from 20 yards out, but his low effort was easily gathered by Hall.
Approaching the 15th minute, the home side took the lead as Chiedozie Ogbene capitalised on a misplaced pass by Tim Clancy to power past last defender Conor Kenna before rifling an unstoppable shot past Peter Cherrie. Rodrigo Tosi almost doubled Limerick’s lead but his header from a Lynch cross was brilliantly saved by Cherrie, who was busy in the opening period.
Shortly afterwards, the former Dundalk goalkeeper was picking the ball out of his net for the second time of the night. Bastien Hery supplied a perfectly weighted through ball for the lively Ogbene who powered past two defenders before slamming the ball home to complete a super solo effort.
Bray responded immediately as Robbie Williams failed to adequately clear an Aaron Greene cross and Ryan Brennan curled the ball past Freddy Hall at the back post. Amazingly, Bray equalised before the half hour mark, as Limerick failed to clear a poor Kevin Lynch corner. Former Limerick player Aaron Greene powered home a header from the second phase to make it 2-2 in a thoroughly entertaining game. Limerick’s achilles heel has been defending set pieces, both from first phase and second phase situations this season.
The Shannonsiders bounced back and scored the fifth goal of the game through Brazilian Rodrigo Tosi’s header following a lofted cross from substitute Dean Clarke. Bray missed a glorious chance to score as Aaron Greene failed to control a cross from Ryan Brennan with the goal at his mercy.
The opening minutes of the second –half proved to be a scrappy affair as neither side had a clear-cut chance on the opposition goal. Limerick were forced to make two changes early in the second period as early injuries to Freddy Hall and Tommy Robson resulted in the introduction of Brendan Clarke and Shane Tracy, for the latter’s first league game of the season.
Limerick relied heavily on Chiedozie Ogbene as their attacking outlet as they attempted to utilize his blistering pace which worked to great effect throughout the game. Bastien Hery attempted to catch Peter Cherrie off guard with a quick free-kick but the Scot reacted quickly to deny the midfielder.
Bray were largely ineffectual in their efforts to grab an equasliser and a mistake by Limerick seemed to be the only possibility. Bastien Hery gifted the Seagulls a way back into the game as he conceded a penalty by taking down Ryan Brennan in the box. Gary McCabe coolly converted the penalty to level the game once again.
A speculative cross-shot from Lee-J Lynch almost caught Cherrie out but luckily for Bray the ball escaped the back post.
The visitors should have taken the lead for the first time in the game. A lung bursting run by Dylan Connolly was spotted by Ryan Brennan who switched the play in his direction, but Connolly scuffed his effort wide of the approaching Clarke’s goal. Limerick players were very slow to track Connolly’s run which was worrying with minutes remaining.
However, Limerick scored the seventh goal of an enthralling encounter when penalty villain Bastien Hery rifled a low shot beyond Cherrie from the edge of the box to stun Bray and send the home crowd into raptures. The Super Blues extended their lead a minute later as Dean Clarke latched on to a Rodrigo Tosi pass before finishing superbly into the bottom corner.
Despite no improvement in defence, Limerick manager Neil McDonald will still be happy with the victory considering Limerick looked tired in the last few minutes of the game. He will certainly highlight the character of his players as a positive. Limerick now enter the mid-season break in the top-half of the table and seven points clear of the relegation zone.
Limerick FC: Freddy Hall, (Brendan Clarke H/T), Shaun Kelly (Dean Clarke 32), Tony Whitehead, Robbie Williams, Dave O’Connor, Tommy Robson (Shane Tracy 50), Bastien Hery, Paul O’Conor, Lee-J Lynch, Chiedozie Ogbene, Rodrigo Tosi.
Subs not used: Garbhan Coughlan, Ian Turner, Stephen Kenny, Chris Mulhall.
Yellow Cards: None
Red Cards: None
Bray Wanderers: Peter Cherrie, Keith Buckley, Tim Clancy, Conor Kenna, Kevin Lynch (Karl Moore 64), Mark Salmon (John Sullivan 64), Ryan Brennan, Gary McCabe, Daragh Noone, Dylan Connolly, Aaron Greene.
Subs not used: Lee Steacey, Derek Foran, Hugh Douglas, Ger Pender, Anthony Flood,
Yellow Cards: Conor Kenna (36), Dylan Connolly (43), Daragh Noone (80)
Red Cards: None
Referee: Anthony Buttimer
Official Attendance: 1447
Sporting Limerick Man of the Match: Chiedozie Ogbene (Limerick)