Bray Wanderers 2-2 Derry City
Dylan Connolly scored twice as Bray Wanderers deprived Derry City of regaining second place in the SSE Airtricity League Premier Division table.
Rory Patterson and Aaron McEneff scored for the Candystripes in-between Connolly’s goals in a riveting encounter at the Carlisle Grounds.
Ahead of stretching their upbeaten run to nine games since losing 2-0 in Derry at end of May, Bray boss Harry Kenny made two changes with Sean Harding and Kevin Lynch coming into the full-back berths.
Having beaten Bray in both their previous meetings this season, Derry, themselves unbeaten in their previous six league outings going into the game, gave a debut to new signing Maximilian Karner.
And while the Austrian central defender impressed early on (before having to go off injured early in the second half) it was an old reliable who came close to giving Derry a 13th minutes lead.
A flowing move saw Barry McNamee feed the run of Nathan Boyle on the right. And his cross was met by Patterson whose first time shot was straight at Peter Cherrie.
Bray responded with Mark Salmon heading into the grateful arms of Derry keeper Ger Doherty as the visitors failed to deal with a Karl Moore corner.
The high tempo to the game was maintained as the scintillating pace of Connolly put Bray in front on 17 minutes.
Jason Marks sent Connolly in behind Karner on the left and the winger sprinted clear to shoot past Doherty to the far corner of the net.
Connolly might have doubled that four minutes later. A sublime cross from left-back Kevin Lynch found Connolly at the far post. Taking the dropping ball first time, Connolly side footed his volley over the bar.
Derry then hit back to level on 31 minutes.
Barry McNamee rolled a free kick to McEneff who thumped his shot off the bar. Patterson followed in to rifle the rebound to the net for his 11th league strike of the season.
Derry took the lead 10 minutes into the second half. Ronan Curtis was tripped in the area by substitute Gareth McDonagh and McEneff sent Peter Cherrie the wrong way from the resulting penalty.
But Connolly once again punished Derry with his electrifying speed to equalise 20 minutes from time.
Bursting through on the left from Ger Pender’s hooked pass, the Republic of Ireland U21 international fired to the net under Doherty.
Bray Wanderers: Peter Cherrie; Sean Harding (Gareth McDonagh 39), Hugh Douglas, Conor Kenna, Kevin Lynch; John Sullivan; Jason Marks (Darragh Noone 63), Karl Moore, Mark Salmon, Dylan Connolly; Ger Pender (Chris Lyons 84).
Derry City: Ger Doherty; Conor McDermott, Max Karner (Ben Doherty 48), Niclas Vemmelund, Dean Jarvis; Aaron McEneff, Conor McCormack; Nathan Boyle (Josh Daniels 77), Barry McNamee, Ronan Curtis; Rory Patterson.
Referee: Sean Grant (Wexford).