Derry’s league title hopes took a severe knock as they dropped vital points at the Brandywell for the second home match in a row last night.
It was a desperately disappointing night for Derry who had the League Cup they won last weekend in Cork on display.
Dean Zambra might very well claim the Bray goal in the 41st minute as all his own work, but it looked for all the world as though Gary Dempsey’s corner flew off the back of Ruaidhri Higgins’ head.
Gerard Doherty did knock the ball clear but the well-positioned linesman ruled that it had crossed the line first.
Certainly the goal came again the run of play, but Derry couldn’t really have too many complaints at falling behind as they had made little of the huge amount of possession they had enjoyed.
Their cause was not helped by Eddie McCallion limping out of the game in just the tenth minute, but picking the full-back who has been out for injury for the best part of a month was a gamble which just didn’t pay off.
With Eamon Zayed again asked to play alone up front, and without McCallion linking defence to attack down the right, it left Derry looking bereft of ideas.
The best Derry could manage in the opening period was a volley well wide of the post by Higgins in the 24th minute.
City boss Stephen Kenny turned to Mark Farren to turn the tide for him as Derry still chased the game with less than half an hour remaining.
But it was his other second half change, bringing on Emmett Friars for Ryan McBride, which paid dividends.
And after an inauspicious start at full-back when he twice almost allowed Zambra in on goal, he produced an incredible strike from more than 30 yards out of nowhere in the 74th minute for the Derry equaliser.
Derry City: Doherty, McCallion, Greacen, Deery, McEleney, McBride, McGlynn, McLaughlin, Higgins, Zayed, Lafferty. Subs: Friars, Harkin, McDaid, Farren, Morrison, Ferry, Henry.
Bray Wanderers: Quigley, Doyle, Massey, Mitchell, Shields, Dempsey, Mulroy, O’Connor, Murphy, Zambra, Kelly. Subs: Waters, Knight, Webster, Kelly, Shaw, McGuinness, Kane
Referee: Derek Tomney, Dublin.