Bray Wanderers 3, Derry City 2
IT WAS remarkably a case of history repeated at the Carlisle Grounds as Bray Wanderers substitute, Tim Clancy netted a late winner to deny Derry City.
On March 31st the former Hibs centre half headed home from Aaron Greene's corner kick to clinch a last minute winner at Maginn Park in an entertaining 3-2 win.
This time the defender came off the bench and scrambled home an unlikely winner, again from a Greene corner with nine minutes left on the clock as the Seagulls ended a five game winless run with three points which saw them leapfrog Derry into third spot.
Derry had deserved more having twice come from behind with goals from Ronan Curtis and Nathan Boyle cancelling out Darragh Noone and Ryan Brennan strikes.
All three goals conceded by the Candy Stripes were avoidable and Kenny Shiels will no doubt be hugely disappointed to see his side's 10 match unbeaten run come to an end as they dropped two places in the league table.
As City returned to action after the midseason break, the big news prior to kick-off was the surprise inclusion of hitman, Rory Patterson among the substitutes, who returned after recovering from a broken ankle which saw him miss the past two months of the campaign.
Bray, who were determined to end a miserable run of results, were without suspended duo, Dylan Connolly and John Sullivan.
Derry controlled possession in the opening minutes but without penetrating the Bray defence.
Gerard Doherty was called into action after the first Bray attack on five minutes when the ball fell to Noone on the edge of the box and his strike on the half volley was spilled by the Derry keeper before the City defence cleared.
But just 60 seconds later the Seagulls hit the front when Kevin Lynch's left footed cross was deflected into the corner of the net off the backside of Noone who had raced into the six yard box.
The home side could have doubled their advantage on 14 minutes when Anto Flood did superbly to hold up the ball before releasing Gary McCabe. The Bray attacker raced towards goal and his shot at the near post was parried behind by Doherty.
Derry were back on terms on 22 minutes when Nicky Low found Curtis with a sublime ball which cut through the Bray defence and the Republic of Ireland U21 striker slotted calmly past Peter Cherrie.
The Candy Stripes had the ball in the back of the net for a second time on 26 minutes when Nathan Boyle headed in Barry McNamee's inswinging cross at the back post but it was ruled out for offside.
McEneff's free-kick went straight through the wall moments later but Cherrie held on comfortably.
And two minutes before the break Bray got back in front from a free-kick on the left side of the Derry penalty area after Flood was brought down by Conor McDermott.
McCabe clipped the free-kick into the six yard box and Brennan rose highest to nod the ball downward into the net from point blank range.
Derry made the perfect start to the second half as they equalised 90 seconds after the restart.
Aaron McEneff did well to feed the ball into the path of Boyle 20 yards from the Bray goal and the striker's well placed, low shot found the bottom corner.
Derry controlled proceedings for large parts of the second half but Bray took the lead for a third time on the night from a corner kick with nine minutes left on the clock,.
Aaron Greene's corner kick was scrambled in at the back post by substitute Clancy much to the despair of the City players.
As Derry pushed for a third equaliser McNamee found corner McEneff with a corner kick and the midfielder's strike looked destined for the top corner but was superbly palmed away by Cherrie.
Bray - Peter Cherrie; Hugh Douglas, Conor Kenna, Derek Foran (Tim Clancy 57), Kevin Lynch (Jason Marks 67); Aaron Greene, Darragh Noone, Ryan Brennan, Mark Salmon, Anthony Flood, Gary McCabe; Subs Not Used - Lee Steacy, Karl Moore, Jamie Ahern, Ryan Robinson, Ger Pender.
Derry City - Gerard Doherty; Harry Monaghan (Ben Doherty 87), Conor McDermottt, Aaron Barry, Dean Jarvis; Josh Daniels (Mark Timlin 83), Nicky Low, Aaron McEneff, Ronan Curtis; Barry McNamee; Nathan Boyle; Subs Not Used - Eric Grimes, Rory Patterson, Rory Holden, Scott Whiteside, Lucas Schubert.
Referee - Robert Hennesey.