Bray Wanderers 2 Derry City 1
Derry City's 10-game unbeaten run came to an end with a 2-1 loss against Bray Wanderers at the Carlisle Grounds last night.
The Candystripes were poor throughout, unable to play their usual passing game on another shabby surface, but the desire and determination was with Bray throughout, who deservedly picked up the points to boost their fight against relegation.
The first half was forgettable in the extreme as both teams laboured to fashion any sort of enthusiasm in what was a perfect evening for football.
It was the hosts who were the more ambitious on an atrocious surface, however, and 10 minutes in they really should have had the lead when Kevin Lynch's corner was flicked on by Hugh Douglas and onto Sean Heaney, who was at the back post.
It was a clear chance for the centre-half but he found himself completely wrong-footed and ended up side-footing the ball away from goal - much to the relief of Gerard Doherty and the Derry defenders.
The second half was much more of a contest and the game kicked into life when Bray took the lead just before the hour mark, the busy Ronan Coughlan getting ahead at the front post to send a header beyond Doherty and into the net.
But the lead lasted just three minutes as Derry responded in style. Conor McDermott worked his way in from the right wing and forced the ball to Nicky Low, who drilled a superb shot beyond Evan Moran and into the Bray net to equalise.
But within 10 minutes, Bray were back in front as Rory Hale lost the ball in midfield and the hosts broke in numbers.
Dan McKenna found Coughlan, who held off Darren Cole before firing in his second goal of the game.
The Candystripes tried desperately to respond and they very nearly levelled when Low's corner caused a goalmouth scramble and substitute John Cofie nudged the ball past Moran, only for it to be cleared off the line.
Derry had one last chance deep into added time at the end of the game when they won a free-kick 20 yards from goal. Ronan Curtis' bullet went through the wall, only to be brilliantly saved by Moran. The final whistle went seconds later.
BRAY WANDERERS: Evan Moran, Hugh Douglas, Conor Kenna, Sean Heaney, Kevin Lynch, Rhys Gorman, Paul O'Conor, Gary McCabe, Daniel Kelly (Andy McGovern 78'), Corey Galvin (Dan McKenna 69'), Ronan Coughlan (Ger Pender 90').
DERRY CITY: Gerard Doherty, Conor McDermott, Darren Cole, Gavin Peers, Jack Doyle, Rory Hale, Aaron McEneff, Nicky Low, Jamie McDonagh (Ben Doherty 64'), Ronan Hale (Ronan Curtis 63'), Rory Patterson (John Cofie 77').
Man of the match: Sean Heaney (Bray)
Match rating: 5/10
Referee: John McLaughlin.