Second-half strikes from David Scully and Shane O’Neill handed Bray a surprising but fully deserved 2-0 SSE Airtricity League Premier Division victory over Drogheda at United Park.
In an entertaining first half there were numerous chances at both ends but surprisingly no goals.
However, the Seagulls found their shooting boots after the restart and they broke the deadlock on 56 minutes when Drogs keeper Dave Ryan spilled a corner kick and Scully pounced to score from close range.
Three minutes later Alan Mathews’ charges all but sealed the points when O’Neill scored with a fine individual strike.
Ryan redeemed himself for his earlier error with some fine saves in the latter stages, but the damage had already been done.
Neither side posed any threat until the ninth minute when former Drog David Cassidy’s stinging volley hit the side netting, but the Boynesiders responded instantly with a 40-yard Eric Foley free kick which had to be tipped round the post by Bray keeper Stephen McGuinness.
The Seagulls were matching their hosts in the possession stakes, with Graham Kelly prominent in midfield, yet they hadn’t the quality in the final third and Carl Walshe drifted in from the right wing to graze the crossbar from 18 yards for Drogheda in the 26th minute.
Bray had an escape shortly after when Gavin Brennan’s hanging cross led to a goalmouth scramble from which Daire Doyle eventually blazed over.
The game had opened up nicely at this stage and Bray’s Shane O’Neill had a shot blocked by Michael Daly after a pinpoint pass from Robert Maloney.
Alan Mathews’ side then put together the best move of the match as David Scully played a one-two with Ismahil Akinade before forcing a fine save from Dave Ryan.
Chances continued to come thick and fast coming up to half-time and Gary O’Neill hooked the ball narrowly wide for Drogheda after Gavin Brennan flicked on Daly’s long throw.
At the other end Ryan dived smartly to his left to cling onto another Cassidy volley and somehow a lively opening half ended goalless.
However, Drogheda were left stunned by a quick Bray double salvo in the 56th and 59th minutes.
First, Ryan spilled a corner kick to the feet of Scully who scrambled the ball in, and then Shane O’Neill struck with a classic counter-attack goal, curling the ball to the top corner from 18 yards.
Two minutes later O’Neill broke clear again and it took a fine save from Ryan to keep Drogheda in the game, and on 72 minutes another Bray chance went begging as O’Neill steered Cassidy’s centre wide.
The Boynesiders looked a well beaten side at this stage and it took a fine fingertip save from Ryan to deny Dean Zambra, before the keeper foiled Akinade from point-blank range.
Drogheda’s night was summed up when top scorer Declan O’Brien was well off target with a header in the 82nd minute.
Drogheda United: Dave Ryan; Michael Daly, Alan McNally, Ciaran McGuigan, Shane Grimes; Carl Walshe, Daire Doyle (Stephen Maher 60), Eric Foley, Gavin Brennan; Gary O’Neill (Philly Hughes 75); Declan O’Brien.
Subs not used: Paul Andrews, Paul Crowley, Cathal Brady, Dylan Connolly.
Bray Wanderers: Stephen McGuinness; Robert Maloney, Dave Webster, Adam Mitchell, Niall Cooney; Shane O’Neill (Michael Brown 90 +5), Dean Zambra, Graham Kelly (Gary Curran 85), David Scully; David Cassidy, Ismahil Akinade.
Subs not used: Jamie McGlynn, Philip Nolan, Ciaran Byrne, Sean Hurley, Gavin Sheridan.
Referee: Paul Tuite (Dublin)