DERRY CITY 3
BRAY WANDERERS 1
Patrick McEleney may have netted another spectacular strike at the Brandywell last night, but it was Conor McCormack who played no small part in Derry’s win over Bray.
Protecting a back four minus the services of Ryan McBride and Aaron Barry, McCormack produced a disciplined performance to help his side move back into the top half of the table.
And while team boss, Paul Hegarty, will not suggest that Derry are now clear of relegation issues, this win will prove significant with three games remaining.
Mark Timlin got the home side off to the best possible start when he diverted Barry McNamee’s pass firmly into the net from 20 yards after just four minutes.
And full-back, Dean Jarvis, then stooped low to head a Stephen Dooley corner into the net in the 10th minute, the home side off to a flying start.
Graham Kelly came close to reducing the deficit on the half-hour, but the Bray midfielder was denied by Ger Doherty, the Derry keeper pushing the ball around the post at the expense of a corner.
However, eight minutes later the home side really should have put the game out of Bray’s reach, but keeper, Peter Cherrie, did well to parry Ciaran O’Connor’s shot in the one-on-one situation.
Chris Lyons headed agonisingly wide minutes before the break, Derry entering the break on the front foot.
Bray, however, battled their way back into the game in the 53rd minute, the home side conceding a particularly soft goal.
Full-back Ben McLaughlin played a very loose pass towards McCormack before Kelly ghosted in on the blind side to drive a low shot beyond the reach of a startled Doherty.
And Bray went close to levelling matters minutes later when Ryan McEvoy’s goal-bound shot was blocked by a Derry defender inside the six yards box.
But Bray heads began to drop in the 61st minute when Patrick McEleney produced yet another one of his wonder strikes to restore his side’s two goals cushion.
With the visitors failing to adequately clear their lines, McEleney regained possession before curling a delightful effort into the top corner giving keeper, Cherrie, no chance.
Substitutes, Aaron McEneff and Mark Quigley went close to netting a four goal as Derry leap-frogged the Co. Wicklow side into sixth spot in the table.
Derry City - Doherty; McLaughlin, Cornwall, Sharkey, Jarvis; McCormack; Dooley (McEneff, 63), McNamee, McEleney; Timlin, O’Connor (Quigley, 58).
Bray Wanderers - Cherrie; Barker, Cooney,McNally, Douglas; Sullivan; Hanlon, Cassidy, McEvoy, Kelly; Lyons.
Referee - P. Tuite (Dublin).