Drogheda United's chances of Premier Division survival were dealt a blow as they were on the wrong side of a 2-1 scoreline against Bray Wanderers at the Carlisle Grounds.

Goals either side of half time by Hugh Douglas and Aaron Greene gave the Seagulls a somewhat flattering two-goal lead after the visitors had been the better side for much of the first half.

Both of the Seagulls' goals came after free kicks won down the left-hand side of the pitch, where the inexperienced full-back Shane Elworthy was ruthlessly targetted.

Chris Mulhall pulled one back as Drogs battled to the end for a point, but aside a couple of half-chances late on Harry Kenny's side comfortably held out for their first league win in five.

The visitors may have gone 15 games without a league win but they began the game the more confident, perhaps a side-effect of their 4-0 FAI Cup win over Evergreen last week.

Bray had captain Conor Kenna early on as he got back on his line to block two goalbound efforts from Chris Mulhall after a poor touch from Peter Cherrie gave the striker the chance.

Mulhall put a long-range effort just past the post as the Drogs continued to have the better of the early play, although Karl Moore showed a glimpse of what he can do with a cross on the break that just evaded Ryan Brennan.

Jack Bayly teed up his former St Patrick's Athletic teammate Conor Kane for a shot wide on the left that wasn't far over, before another ex-Saint Elworthy came within inches of scoring.

The full-back darted forward through the middle and continued his run into the box to receive the return from Wixted, but when the time came to shoot he stabbed the ball high over the bar.

Bray began to settle into the game after the half-hour and Kane did brilliantly to deny Drogheda native Brennan following a wonderful left-wing cross by Kevin Lynch.

Gary McCabe nearly broke the deadlock ten minutes from the break with a free kick that he shaped to cross before curling a shot past Stephen McGuinness and onto the top of the bar.

Two minutes later, Bray did take the lead as Lynch swung in an inviting corner from the right and Douglas rose decisively to plant a header in the bottom corner past a helpless McGuinness.

Suddenly it was the home side playing with flair and confidence, and Douglas won the ball in midfield to feed Aaron Greene only for the winger to scuff his shot from distance.

McGuinness had to save again from Brennan's shot before Sean Russell came within the width of the post of equalising from a free kick after Tim Clancy had fouled Mulhall on the edge of the box.

The second wasn't long in coming after the break. John Sullivan picked out McCabe with a chipped ball on the left and the top scorer cut inside before being tripped by Elworthy.

This time Greene stood over the ball, and he lifted the ball up over the wall and down before McGuinness could even move in the Drogheda goal.

Drogheda looked on the verge of collapsing at times but they re-established a foothold in the game when Mulhall deservedly pulled one back for his time.

After Russell's free kick was blocked by the wall, Thomas Byrne crossed from the right and Mulhall turned the ball first-time low past Cherrie.

The striker was involved in a ruck with Cherrie as he looked to retrieve the ball and most of the players on the field were briefly involved, and at the end the pair emerged with bookings.

Drogheda huffed and puffed but threatened little for the remainder, but Elworthy headed Byrne's corner over from point blank range in injury as Drogs' hopes of survival waned further.

Bray Wanderers: Peter Cherrie; Hugh Douglas, Conor Kenna, Tim Clancy, Kevin Lynch (Jake Ellis 90); John Sullivan, Darragh Noone (Mark Salmon 69), Karl Moore (Jason Marks 85), Ryan Brennan, Gary McCabe; Aaron Greene.

Drogheda United: Stephen McGuinness; Shane Elworthy, Stephen Dunne, Dave Mulcahy, Conor Kane; Jack Bayly, Richie Purdy, Adam Wixted (Ryan Masterson 80) Sean Russell (Mark Doyle 84), Jake Hyland (Thomas Byrne 61); Chris Mulhall.

Referee: Ben Connolly (Dublin).