Jason Byrne continued last season's goal scoring exploits as Shelbourne failed to hold out with 10 menBray Wanderers fans have something to cheer on the opening Airtricity League matchday after overcoming a spirited Shelbourne side thanks to a Jason Byrne strike. Shels had to play with 10 men for the majority of the match after Paul Crowley saw red for a rash two-footed challenge.
Bray started the brighter of the two sides as Daire Doyle went close. Gary Dempsey beat the offside trap and crossed for Doyle, who was denied by a great save by Ger Hanley low to his left.
Alan Mathews’ Shels side looked content to soak up any home pressure with Graham Gartland and Rob Cornwall impressing in particular. Paul Crowley provided the visitors' only threat of the first half with his low cross nearly producing a sliding finish from Alex Prizeman.
Crowley saw his night end early after a wild lunge on Doyle near the half-hour mark. Referee Padraig Sutton was on the scene quickly, brandishing a straight red for the midfielder.
Despite seeing plenty of ball, Bray's Kieran Marty Waters was blunted in his attempts to break the deadlock. Sent through by a delightful chipped pass by Dempsey, Waters shot straight at Hanley when the net should have rippled close to half-time.
After seeing his goal ruled out for offside moments earlier, Jason Byrne would have reason to celebrate with 20 minutes remaining. Waters' deep cross to the back post found Byrne, who flicked out a left leg to beat Hanley at last.
A determined second-half showing by the away side was unlucky to go unrewarded. Mark Leech thought he was fouled by Kevin Knight in the box only for appeals to be waived away.Bray may be basking in the glory of three points but they face a daunting trip to the home of reigning champions Sligo Rovers next. Shelbourne will look to kick start their season in a home tie against Dundalk next weekend.