Another Carlisle crisis put a serious dent in Derry City’s title ambitions as the Brandywell side threw away another one-goal lead as Bray grabbed a deserved draw at the Carlisle Grounds last night.
Derry have not enjoyed their trips to Wicklow in recent seasons — they have not won here since August 2006 — and once again Stephen Kenny’s side floundered by the seaside.
Certainly this was a result that will give further credence to the notion that Bohemians are out on their own in the title race. One win in four is not champions' form.
Ciaran Martyn’s fourth goal of the campaign should have set the Candystripes up to take all three points but Bray have proven increasingly adept at confounding their critics, especially at home, and Eddie Gormley’s side continued their unbeaten home run at the expense of the visitors.
Derry began with the authority that their lofty station demands and Liam Kearney and Stephen Gray worked a neat one-two down the left and the full-back’s cross was expertly swept beyond Chris O’Connor by Martyn for a deserved lead after a quarter of an hour.
Thomas Stewart really should have doubled the lead when he was played into space by Sammy Morrow but his effort form 10-yards was shanked horribly wide.
However, with Paddy Kavanagh sprung from the bench Derry began looking increasingly fraught and Bray sensed their chance and it was no surprise to see them level the scores on 72 minutes, though Derry will not be happy with the ease with which there defence was breached.
Dave Webster’s long cross-field ball reached Gary McCabe on the left flank and with the defence set, the Bray winger skipped too easily past Ger O’Brien and his deflected shot bamboozled deputy netmider, Patrick Jennings.
BRAY WANDERERS: O’Connor, Webster, Foran, Deans, Massey, McCabe (Mulchay 90), Brennan, Shields, Kelly (Kavanagh ht), Flood (Mulroy 85), Byrne
DERRY CITY: Jennings, O’Brien, Hutton, McChrystal, Gray, McGlynn, Molloy, Martyn (Higgins 71), Kearney (Farren 78), Morrow, Stewart
Referee: M Gough