Derry City 2, Bray Wanderers 0
DERRY CITY got back to winning ways at Brandywell with two first half goals enough to see off an out-of-sorts Bray Wanderers and keep the Candy Stripes in third spot.
Josh Daniels netted after just seven minutes - his second goal in two games - before Nathan Boyle registered his fifth of the season to dampen the spirits of the lowly Seagulls.
It was Derry’s first win on Foyleside since the 1-0 win over Bohemians back in April and they did it without top goalscorer, Rory Patterson (hamstring) and Barry McNamee (illness).
However, skipper Ryan McBride passed a pre-match fitness test to bolster the home defence which was rarely tested by the visitors who have now lost eight straight games.
The Candystripes were almost caught out by a long ball over the top after three minutes when Dylan Connolly got in behind McBride but the City defender recovered well to dispossess the Bray winger who had delayed his shot.
The home lot finally got going four minutes later as Boyle held off his marker before crashing his powerful strike off the post and the rebound fell kindly to Daniels who slotted into the net for his second goal in the two games and his third of the season.
Bray looked all at sea when Derry increased the pressure and on 20 minutes Boyle did superbly to out-muscle Sean Harding after goalkeeper, Peter Cherrie had failed to collect the ball and the Derry striker fired low into the bottom corner for his fifth goal of the campaign.
It was one-way traffic as Bray sat deep inside their own half and Boyle and Lukas Schubert both sent shots over the crossbar from close range and Keith Ward directed his right footed shot from the edge of the penalty area just wide of the post before the interval.
It was a totally dominant first half from the home side as Bray failed to register a single shot on target.
Aaron McEneff started a promising move 10 minutes after the break with a wonderful ball in behind the Bray defence and when the ball eventually broke to the edge of the area, McEneff blasted over the bar.
Derry City came so close to a third after a beautifully crafted move on the hour mark as Lukas Schubert found Niclas Vemmelund inside the Bray box and the Danish defender swivelled on the ball before shooting just wide of the post.
Bray finally tested Gerard Doherty from a corner kick on 64 minutes as substitute, Andrew Lewis flicked his header towards goal but the Derry goalkeeper parried clear the danger.
Derry were inviting the visitors on and Robbie Creevy somehow missed a glorious chance when he sent his free header wide the net from six yards on 74 minutes.
At the other end Daniels could have sealed the win when he got on the end of a terrific cross from Boyle but he side-footed his shot the wrong side of the post.
McEneff then struck the post with two minutes to go as Derry finished the game on top and held on to third spot.
Derry City: G. Doherty; N. Vemmelund, R. McBride, A. Barry, D. Jarvis; C. McCormack, A. McEneff; L. Schubert, K. Ward (, R. Holden 81), J. Daniels (R. Doherty 88); N. Boyle (J. Allen 81); Subs Not Used - S. Patton, C. McDermott, P. McClean.
Bray Wanderers: P Cherrie; S. Harding, A. McNally, C. Kenna, J Marks (H. Douglas 67); D. Connolly, R. Creevy, M. Salmon, G. McDonagh (G. Pender h-t); R. Brennan; D. Kelly (A. Lewis 62); Subs Not Used - A. Shanahan, A. Byrne, D. Blackbyrne, D. Noone.
Referee - Paul McLaughlin (Monaghan)