Bray Wanderers are now officially going to be in the Premier Division next season. Their status as a top-flight team was secured when they beat Monaghan 7-6 on penalties after the score was 1-1 after 120 minutes. It was 0-0 after the regulation 90 minutes so the game was forced to extra time where both teams scored late on to force the game to penalties. Bray Wanderers stayed in the Premier Division while Monaghan United stayed in the First Division.
Here us the full match report:
Bray Wanderers 1 Monaghan United 1
(after extra time)
Bray win 7-6 in penalty shootout.
Chris Shields was villain turned hero as Bray Wanderers kept their place in the Premier Division for a sixth season with a penalty shoot-out victory in the second leg of the premotion/relegation play-off at the Carlisle Grounds.
The Bray striker had the misfortune to concede a goal in the 119th minute when deflecting a Don Tierrney shot into his own net. Goal celebrations by Monaghan supporters led to a perimeter wall collapsing which held up play for several minutes.
Incredibly Bray were level in the second minute of added time of extra time when Shields crossed from the right for winger Jake Kelly to fire home an equaliser when it seemed his team were destined for the First Division.
In the resulting penalty shoot out Bray prevailed 7-6 - and who was the man to fire home the vital last spot kick - that man Shields.
Monaghan had an early chance when a Philip Hughes cross from the right was deflected just over his own bar by Bray defender Adam Mitchell.
Winger Cathal O'Connor then clverly skipped past Dane Massey only to see his cross from the right spilled by Seagulls 'keeper Brian Kane with Adam Mitchell completing the clearance.
Bray did have an opportunity on 13 minutes when striker Shane O'Neill cut in from the left and fired in a shot from the edge of the box well taken by 'keeper Gabriel Sava.
Then Danny O'Connor had another chance when shooting straight at Sava from 20 yards after O'Neill had created the opening on the right. Monaghan had a let-off on 37 minutes when a cross by Dean Zambra was nearly put through his own goal by defender Brian Gartland after a mix-up with 'keeper Sava.
Danny O'Connor went close to breaking the deadlock five minutes before the interval when he let fly from 30 yards only to see his effort brilliantly pushed over by the alert Sava after Shane O'Neill had carved open the visitors' defence.
Shields then set up a chance for Massey on 48 minutes when cutting in from the left he fired straight at Sava on a difficult playing surface that had cut up badly after torrential rain at various stages of the game.
The unmarked Alan Byrne wasted as easy chance to break the deadlock for Monaghan on 61 minutes when heading over from ten yards after a cross from the right by Sean Brennan.
Then Cathal O'Connor supplied a perfect ball to the overlapping Shane Grimes on the left only for the defender to see his effort brilliantly pushed round the post by 'keeper Kane.
Bray striker Chris Shields missed a glorious chance to win the game late in normal time when firing past from 12 yards after a probing Daire Doyle cross from the right. Then an angled shot from Jake Kelly on the left was pushed away by Sava.
Both teams look tired in extra time and that was no surprise in the energy sapping trying conditions although Bray did go close on 111 minutes when jake Kelly had a 15 yard effort brilliantly blocked by Sava after a Shane O'Neill effort was blocked by Paul Whelan.
Then game all that late drama with Monaghan grabbing what they thought was the winner in the 119th minute when a Barry Clancy corner on the left allowed Brian Gartland to get in a shot which hit the post. From the rebound, Don Tierney's effort was deflected into the roof of the net by bray striker Shields.
Goal celebrations from the Monaghan supporters caused a wall to collapse and the game resumed after four minutes and sensationally Bray were level in the second miute of added time.
A Shields cross from the right put Sava under pressure and Jake Kelly was able to fire home from close range in the crowded goalmouth.
Then came that agonising penalty shoot-out with Shields turning from villain to hero when firing home the decisive last kick to keep Bray in the Premier Division for a sixth successive season. It was jubilation for Bray and heartbreak for Monaghan.
Bray Wanderers - Kane; Doyle, Mitchell, S.O'Connor, Massey; Zambra (Shaw 93), D.O'Connor,
Dempsey, J.Kelly; Shields , O'Neill.
Monaghan United - Sava; Whelan, McMahon (McCrossan 72), Gartland, Grimes; C.O'Connor (Hanaphy 86), Byrne, Tierney, Clancy; Brennan (Bermingham 75), Hughes.
Referee - Declan Hannay (Dublin).
Thanks for reading. All that is left for this season is the Cup final which will be a great finale to an exciting LOI season.