Bray Wanderers got back to winning ways in the SSE Airtricity League Premier Division with a 3-0 win in Ballybofey that sent their hosts Finn Harps to the bottom of the table.
The Wicklow side had only picked up one point from their last two outings but victory in Donegal consolidates second place behind runaways leaders Cork City, who dropped points for the first time this season having been held at Galway United.
Gary McCabe and Ryan Brennan scored first-half goals in the north-west as Aaron Greene made it three in the latter stages, to cut the Leesiders’ advantage to 12 points at the top.
Harps’ 2-0 win at neighbours Derry City is now the only points they’ve picked up in seven outings.
McCabe opened the scoring with a stunning effort on just six minutes, when he controlled a half-volley expertly - smashing past Ciaran Gallagher from 20 yards - as the hosts failed to clear a Bray throw-in.
That goal put the visitors in control and a second goal arrived on 40 minutes. This time it was Brennan who was the goalscorer.
Damien McNulty, the Harps centre-back who was drawn to the right, didn’t get close enough as Brennan got into a position to drive an angle daisy-cutter that went in having hit the base of the back post.
Between those goals, Bray had Mark Salmon to thank for keeping their slender one-goal lead intact as on 10 minutes, the midfielder made a vital black from Kilian Cantwell from close range.
There were little or no goalmouth incidents in the third quarter as Harps, who hadn’t scored in their previous four outings in all competitions, tried in vain to end that blunt streak.
Caolan McAleer crossed for substitute Danny Morrissey, who failed to trouble Peter Cherrie with a looping header and Sean Houston, on 75 minutes, at least drew a save from the Bray goalkeeper.
Greene clinched the win with a simple goal on 80 minutes when he ran, practically uninterrupted, some 80 yards, straight down the middle to the pitch to outpace the Harps defence and score with ease.
Finn Harps: Ciaran Gallagher; Ethan Boyle, Damien McNulty (Michael Funston 78), Kilian Cantwell, Ciaran Coll; Caolan McAleer Barry Molloy, Sean Houston, Paddy McCourt (Simon McGlynn 83), Gareth Harkin (Danny Morrissey 63); Ciaran O’Connor.
Bray Wanderers: Peter Cherrie; Keith Buckley, Tim Clancy, Conor Kenna, Karl Moore; Ryan Brennan, Mark Salmon, John Sullivan (Anto Flood 45), Dylan Connolly; Aaron Greene, Gary McCabe (Jamie Aherne 83).
Referee: Derek Tomney.