Bray Wanderers 1-0 Derry City
Substitute Adam Hanlon struck to give Bray Wanderers victory despite a day of more drama off the pitch at the Carlisle Grounds.
Winger Hanlon scored the only goal of the game on 76 minutes, drilling an angled drive across Ger Doherty into the far corner of the Derry keeper’s net.
It was another remarkable feat by the Bray players who recorded a third successive win despite the off-the-field soap opera continuing at the club.
It also marked the perfect start in charge for newly appointed manager Mick Cooke, who watched from the stand due to an outstanding suspension.
Conversely, defeat sees the pressure continue to mount on Derry manager Peter Hutton, whose side are without a win now in 10 games and in relegation trouble.
The game went ahead as scheduled despite an apparent attempted take-over of Bray earlier in the day following a change of directors on Thursday.
A Bray shareholders EGM also took place in Arklow while up to 80 fans then staged a protest outside the ground at how their club has been run prior to entering to support the team.
Cooke named the same Bray starting XI that earned a big 1-0 win at Limerick last week despite former boss Trevor Croly parting company with the club days before.
Skipper Ryan McBride returned from suspension for Derry while midfielder Stephen Dooley made his first start of the season following injury.
And it was Dooley who had the game’s first opening on eight minutes.
Barry McNamee and Patrick McEleney worked the ball through for the run of the Derry number 11. Bray right-back, Hugh Douglas, was fully alert to the danger, though, getting back to make a telling block tackle in conceding the game’s first corner.
Derry maintained their bright start with Dooley threading the ball through for Philip Lowry to bring a decent parry save from Peter Cherrie four minutes later.
A terrific sweeping move, involving six Derry players, should really have resulted in their taking the lead on 20 minutes.
It finished with left-back Dean Jarvis overlapping to cross for Patrick McEleney whose downward header was tipped over the bar by Cherrie.
Bray put their sluggish start behind them to come alive four minutes later when Peter McGlynn’s shot was deflected onto a post off Derry midfielder Barry McNamee.
Derry thought they should have had a penalty six minutes before half-time as Dooley certainly appeared to be taken down inside the area by McGlynn. Dublin referee Tomas Connolly was unimpressed.
A misplaced pass by Shaun Kelly gifted Bray a chance on 42 minutes with Chris Lyons blasting a shot straight at Ger Doherty.
Scarcely seconds later, Lowry saw Cherrie off his line and was just over the bar with an audacious, quickly-taken free kick was inside his own half.
Derry then had a right let off in the final minute of the half.
Gareth McDonagh picked out Lyons whose scuffed shot beat Doherty only to rebound off the far post and back into the keeper’s hands.
Lyons blew another chance to put Bray in front four minutes into the second half when blazing over from Douglas’ headed knock down.
A minute later at the other end, Cherrie tipped over acrobatically from Dooley’s header after Patrick McEleney did well on the left to cross.
Bray Wanderers: Peter Cherrie; Hugh Douglas, Alan McNally, Niall Cooney, Michael Barker; Gareth McDonagh (Emeka Onwubiko 83), John Sullivan, Graham Kelly, Ryan McEvoy, Peter McGlynn (Adam Hanlon 71); Chris Lyons (Dave Scully 87).
Derry City: Ger Doherty; Shaun Kelly, Ryan McBride, Shane McEleney, Dean Jarvis; Stephen Dooley (Ronan Curtis 67), Philip Lowry, Barry McNamee (Seanan Clucas 90), Mark Timlin; Patrick McEleney; Ryan Curran (Cillian Morrison 81)
Referee: Tomas Connolly (Dublin).