Derry City won their first home league game since the end June when they beat Bray Wanderers 2-0 under the lights at the Brandywell tonight.
The Candy Stripes hadn’t won at home since beating Bohemians 2-1 on June 28 but despite the best efforts of Bray, Declan Devine’s men put three valuable points on the board.
Devine set his stall out early when he started the game with three forwards on the pitch and his gamble paid off in the fifth minute.
Simon Madden used his blistering pace to get past Conor Earley and his cross found the head of the unmarked David McDaid on the edge of the six yard box who put the ball past Darren Quigley with ease.
If Derry City fans thought McDaid’s goal was a sign of what was to come then they were to be bitterly disappointed.
Bray went on to dominate the second half and could have counted themselves unlucky not to be level at half time.
Ismahil Akinade, who caused Derry left back, Eoghan Osborne no end of problems in the first half, forced Doherty into making a fantastic save in the 13th mintue. Akinade’s stinging drive was sent goalwards but Doherty dived to put the ball out for a corner.
Akinade had another chance to equalise in the 17th minute when team mate Conor Earley found him unmarked inside the area with a great cross from the left. Unfortunately for the Seagulls, Akinade’s header lacked power and was easily collected by Doherty.
Derry youngster, Michael Duffy, beat Bray full-back Shane O’Connor on the left in the 24th minute and promptly fired a cross into the Bray area. The visitors’ defence failed to clear the ball but as it found its way through to Rory Patterson at the back post, the best the Strabane man could do was send his shot wide.
Derry City captain Barry Molloy weaved his way into the Bray area in the 26th minute. Molloy, unselfishly passed the ball to Ryan Curran whose shot was blocked on the edge of the six yard box.
Akinade left Osborne in no man’s land in the 27th minute but fortunately for the former Dundalk full-back, Gerard Doherty reacted quickly and charged the Bray player’s shot down.
Rory Patterson made space for himself on the right in the 34th minute and proceeded to pull the ball back to team mate Simon Madden. However, with time on the ball Madden fired his shot straight at Quigley.
Kieran Marty Waters should have equalised for Bray in the 39th minute but he put his effort over the crossbar.
Bray could have so easily scored at the begining of the first half when Shane McEleney slipped inside the area; Gary Dempsey was slow to react and his shot was fired wide of the bar.
Barry Molloy found Patterson with an amazing pass in the 55th minute. Molloy threaded the ball through the middle of the defence and Patterson’s burst of pace gave him the space he needed but his shot blasted off the crossbar.
Akinade found himself in acres of space inside the Bray area in the 64th minute but the Seagull’s forward somehow poked his effort wide from only seven yards from goal.
Former Derry City goalie, Darren Quigley made back to back saves in the 74th minute to deny both Patterson and David McDaid.
Patrick McEleney followed up with a half volley from the resulting corner seconds later but the Derry youngster’s effort went narrowly wide.
Derry second half substitue Michael Rafter doubled Derry’s lead in in 77th minute when he lacthed onto a tremendous through ball from McEleney. Rafter held his nerve and from the edge of the area looped the ball over the head of Quigley. It was a top class finish from the former Dundalk striker.
DERRY CITY: Gerard Doherty; Dean Jarvis, Simon Madden, Eoghan Osborne (Patrick McEleney 57 minutes), Stephen McEleney; Barry Molloy, Ruaidhri Higgins, Michael Duffy, David McDaid, Ryan Curran (Michael Rafter 74 minutes), Rory Patterson (Raymond Foy 90).
Subs not used: Eugene Ferry, Mark Griffin, Conor Barr, Joshua Tracey.
BRAY WANDERERS: Darren Quigley; David Webster, Adam Mitchell, Gary Dempsey, Kevin O’Connor; Ismahil Akinade, Jason Byrne, Kieran Marty Waters, Conor Earley; Shane O’Connor, Kevin Maher (Kevin Knight 66 minutes).
Subs not used: Danny O’Connor, Daire Doyle, John Mulroy, Kevin O’Leary, Niall Cooney, Shane Redmond.
REFREE: Mr. Paul McLaughlin (Monaghan).