Seagulls are sitting pretty after deserved victory over Derry City
Bray Wanderers 2, Derry City 1: A fantastic defensive display by Bray Wanderers in a fascinating encounter has now all but secured Bray Wanderer’s Premier Division status for another year.
After falling behind after just two minutes Bray fought back and were ahead thanks to a Colm Tresson header and a solo goal from Ger Rowe.
Despite his side’s superb performance last Tuesday night, Eddie Gormley did make some changes to his side for Friday’s clash.
The back four saw only one change with Derek Foran replacing Ray Kenny, midfield saw just one change also as Gareth Coughlan replaced the suspended Paddy Kavanagh and there was also just a singe alteration up front with Rowe impressing enough in his brief appearance on Tuesday to take the place of Jake Kelly.
Seagull’s fans will have been hoping their side would build on their result against Rovers but with just over a minute played, they were behind.
Bray tried to play the ball out from the back but when Gavin Whelan left Alan Gough short with his back-pass, the on fire Mark Farren nipped in and rounded Gough before rolling the ball into the net.
The Candystripes were, for obvious reasons, the happier side but on 11 minutes the smirks should have been wiped off the visitors’ fans faces after Coughlan missed a fantastic chance.
After Derry cleared away the danger from a Bray set-piece the Derry defence tried to come out and catch Bray players offside. What they hadn’t counted on was Rowe’s neat ball finding Coughlan, who controlled with his chest before his poor finish from 12 yards went wide.
The momentum was now with the Wicklow side and they made their advantage count on 18 minutes.
After Rowe had been fouled wide on the right, referee Mark Gough awarded Bray a free kick. There was plenty of jostling in the penalty area but when Alan Cawley delivered the ball into the danger area, Colm Tresson found himself a yard of space and stooped to send his firm header into the back of the net.
Wanderers’ joy was doubled four minutes later.
Kevin Doherty’s huge punt for- ward left Rowe haring down on Eddie McCallion. 20 yards from goal Rowe had caught up with the Derry man and the right back’s desperate effort to clear the ball left Rowe with a fantastic opportunity. He duly took it, despite Gerard Doherty getting a hand to the ball and sending it in off the post.
Eleven minutes before the break and Farren was at it again, causing the Bray defence all sorts of trouble.
Niall McGinn made light work of Mark Duggan on the right wing before feeding Farren. Farren then poked it past the advancing Foran before racing on to the ball and trying his luck. The finish, unfortu- nately, did not match the build up.
Two minutes after that a left deep left wing cross found an un-marked McGinn, who chested the ball before trying a dipping volley into the top corner but Gough was alert to it and so Derry went into the break trailing.
That statistic should have changed three minutes into the second period when Pender was harshly adjudged to have handled McGinn’s shot, but Sammy Morrow blasted his 12-yarder off the crossbar before it was hacked away.
Gough then almost calamitously gifted Derry an equalizer as he slipped when taking a free 40 yards out but Farren’s effort was a metre wide of the unguarded net.
Five minutes on and it was Derry’s turn to cause themselves trouble after Stephen Gray’s slip allowed Coughlan to race through but the winger’s effort flashed wide of the goal.
With 69 minutes gone the Ulster men were desperately unlucky not to score after a Cawley foul allowed Kevin Deery to blast his free kick off the upright and at this stage Stephen Kenny must have known his luck was out.
With six minutes to go the visitors squandered yet another chance after Foran could only nod a left wing cross into Ciaran Martyn’s path and his low effort from 10 yards hit the side netting.
The last chance of the game arrived on 85 minutes and it took a world class save from Gough to keep Bray in the lead.
Niall McGinn slipped the ball to Gray. Gray then clipped the ball into the middle and Kevin McHugh’s improvised effort was going in until Gough threw himself full length to turn the ball around the post.
Man of the Match: Derek Foran (Bray Wanderers). If it moved, he cleared it. Not bad for a 19-year old.
Kevin Doherty of Bray Wanderers in a tussle with Derry’s Mark McChrystal as Ger Rowe of Bray looks on.