Michael Rafter inspired Derry City to a comfortable win over Bray Wanderers, as the Candystripes enjoyed a 2-0 victory at the Brandywell.

The former Dundalk man bagged a brace as Declan Devine's side made it three wins on the bounce to move to within two points of league leaders Sligo Rovers.

City showed their intent from start and had a good chance after three minutes when Simon Madden’s right-wing cross found Rafter at the near post, but after controlling the ball, the striker blazed over from a tight angle.

Moments later, a Barry McNamee cross from the right again picked out Rafter at the near post, but his glancing header was easily saved by Wanderers keeper Sean Holmes.

The visitors eventually got into the game and in the 20th minute, some great skill by veteran striker Jason Byrne saw him get away from Shane McEleney and Ryan McBride, but his 25-yard drive rattled the crossbar, with City keeper Gerard Doherty well-beaten.

Derry took the lead on 26 minutes after a goalkeeping error by Holmes. The Wanderers net-minder dropped Rafter’s well-hit, long-range effort and the ball bounced into his own net.

City had a glorious chance to double their lead shortly after, but Madden’s header was well saved by Holmes, after more good play by Rafter to create the chance.

City continued to dominate after the break and McEleney’s excellent ball out of defence after 55 minutes released Mark Griffin down the right.

Griffin cut inside and passed to Rafter, who fed Patrick McEleney and the left-wing cross made its way back to Rafter who made no mistake heading home.

Paddy Kavanagh’s corner on 72 minutes caused more problems for Holmes but luckily for the Wanderers net-minder, Griffin’s tame header hit the side-netting.

And that was the last chance of note as the home side kept the pressure on the league leaders and maintained their impressive start to the season.

Derry City Doherty, Madden, S McEleney, McBride, Crawley; Higgins, Molloy, B McNamee; Rafter (Curran 84), Griffin (Duffy 75), P McEleney (Kavanagh 68).

Bray Wanderers Holmes, Knight, O’Connor (Akinade 59); Dempsey, Doyle (Webster 62), Byrne (Earley 82), Waters, Hyland, Mulroy, Zambra, Thomas.

Referee Mr Rob Rodgers (Dublin).