Late goals from Gavin Brennan and Gary O’Neill at Hunky Dorys Park gave Drogheda United a 2-0 win over Bray Wanderers who remain rooted to the bottom of Airtricity League Premier Division table.
The visitors were reduced to ten men late on as David Webster saw red for a second yellow card, but the winless streak for Pat Devlin’s men continues as does Drogheda’s long unbeaten run.
With 82 minutes on the clock, Gavin Brennan raced into the box to get on the end of a Shane Grimes cross and he fired home from close range. The hosts doubled their lead deep into injury time when Eric Foley flicked on for Gary O’Neill to tap in at the near post.
The hosts made only one change from the side which beat Longford Town in the FAI Cup, that change being Peter Hynes replacing the suspended Declan O’Brien, while Bray stuck with the eleven that lost 3-0 to St Pat’s at the weekend.
In front of a small crowd, it was a tentative opening period from both sides, the only real chance falling to Drogheda when David Cassidy attempted a volley from outside the box but Darren Quigley was always behind it.
The Boynesiders pushed on but their passing in the final third was letting them down, Bray showed their danger in the 20th minute when Kevin O’Connor raced through and spread the ball to the unmarked Waters but he dragged his shot across the face of goal.
The Boynesiders best chance came after 30 minutes when Ryan Brennan split the Seagulls defence and played through Cathal Brady, but Quigley was quick off his line to block the danger.
A great move down the left by Philip Hand saw a nice one-two with Gavin Brennan before unleashing a cross to Paul O’Conor who picked out Peter Hynes, but as he buried his shot the flag went up for offside.
The visitors finished the half stronger when Conor Earley muscled Grimes off the ball in the corner before working the ball into Kevin O’Connor who snatched a shot into the side netting, then on the stroke of half-time Jason Byrne had a chance just blocked down by Alan Byrne.
Bray continued their good form into the re-start when some pressure forced Schlingermann into a mis-kick, which almost gifted Byrne a tap-in before Dean Zambra picked out Kevin O’Connor and his point-blank header was brilliantly saved by the Drogheda keeper.
Gavin Brennan then took the play down the field and his cross was almost met by brother Ryan, but the header came off a Bray defender and out for a corner as the momentum of the game really picked up.
Wanderers striker Byrne will have sleepless nights after a horror miss with just over 20 minutes remaining. Dean Zambra crossed to the back post for Gary Dempsey to head across goal and Byrne, who was free, had the goal at his mercy, but he scuffed his shot and it looped up for Alan Byrne to clear off the line.
Drogheda then secured the victory with two late goals as injury time approached.
Due to an injury, there were six minutes of additional time to be played and Bray piled on the pressure as Darren Quigley twice went up for corners, but the visitors couldn’t pull one back as their winless streak continues.
Drogheda United: Micheal Schlingermann; Shane Grimes, Alan Byrne, Derek Prendergast, Michael Daly (Philip Hand 26); Gavin Brennan, Paul O’Conor, David Cassidy, Ryan Brennan, Cathal Brady (Eric Foley 90+2); Peter Hynes (Gary O’Neill 68).
Subs not used: Gabriel Sava, Gavan Holohan, Alan McNally , Jason Marks
Bray Wanderers: Darren Quigley; Conor Earley, Danny O’Connor, David Webster, Shane O’Connor; Kieran Marty Waters, Gary Dempsey (Kevin Maher 74), Kevin O’Connor, Dean Zambra; John Mulroy, Jason Byrne (Ismahil Akinade 81).
Subs not used: Kevin Knight, Adam Mitchell, Stephen Quigley, Niall Cooney, Shane Redmond
Referee: Paul Tuite