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Point apiece for Seagulls and Candystripes after two late red cards

Rory Patterson’s second half penalty earned Derry a 1-1 draw after Adam Mitchell’s header had put Bray in front.

Derry's Rory Patterson scored from the penalty spot.
Derry's Rory Patterson scored from the penalty spot.
Image: Lorcan Doherty

Bray Wanderers 1-1 Derry City

SLOWLY BUT SURELY Bray Wanderers are edging closer to safety but they’re not making it easy for themselves.

When all is said and done, this may just be a point gained but for now it is undoubtedly a missed opportunity to pull clear of those below them and ease their relegation fears.

Adam Mitchell’s stooped header on the stroke of the interval infused the hosts with the impetus after an otherwise attritional first period but they fired blanks thereafter as Derry, who have a FAI Cup semi-final on the horizon, somehow managed to escape with a share of the spoils.

After Rory Patterson had grabbed an undeserved equaliser from the spot on the hour mark, Jake Kelly was given the chance to snatch all three points for the Seagulls but fired high and wide from twelve yards, prompting heads to go into hands both on the pitch and in the stands — the significance of the miss has yet to be realised.

Both sides had players sent off during what was a frantic last quarter. Shaun Kelly was first to receive his marching orders for a second booking and his counterpart, Niall Cooney, was soon to follow for a reckless lunge deep into stoppage time.

Nevertheless, Bray’s lead over UCD now stands at five points with just three games remaining but there should be greater daylight between the sides. Alan Mathews’ side were guilty of squandering chance after chance and they’ve now won just once in their last 18 league outings.

Kelly was the chief culprit but in playing through the middle, gave Bray an added dimension in the final third, giving the Derry rearguard no end of problems throughout.

Indeed, it was his movement and turn of pace that caught Shane McEleney cold halfway through the first period. Having exposed the Candystripes’ disjointed defence by latching onto Dave Webster’s lofted ball, he did all the legwork but saw his lob over the out-rushing Ger Doherty come back off the bar.

There was little surprise that Derry opted to leave several of their luminaries wrapped in cotton wool on the bench but those given the opportunity failed to inspire. The fact that they have failed to win any of their fixtures preceding cup ties this campaign underlines where their priorities lie.

Nevertheless, they should have hit the front against the run of play. Former Seagull Sean Houston played a neat exchange with Barry McNamee but Patterson lacked conviction with only the ‘keeper to beat, dragging his effort wide of the upright.

Adam Mitchell Adam Mitchell scored for Bray. Source: Donall Farmer/INPHO

It was a let-off for Bray and they took full advantage. Shaun Kelly failed to deal with a straightforward diagonal ball, fouling Hanlon in the process and from the resulting set-piece, Mitchell pounced. Hanlon’s industry ensured the move stayed alive on the right and his low cross found the unmarked defender who headed home, unmarked, from a couple of yards.

Bray’s defensive frailties, however, are largely responsible for their lowly position. They have leaked 27 goals at home so far this term, the most in the division, and were exposed again on the hour mark. They should have been out of sight at that point. Kelly came close twice, forcing Doherty into a fine stop on the second occasion, but he was left to rue those missed opportunities.

Out of nothing Patterson bundled his way into the penalty area, going over the trailing leg of Webster, and referee Rob Rogers had little hesitation in pointing to the spot. The striker did the rest, calmly slotting the ball into the corner.

Bray Wanderers: Stephen McGuinness; Niall Cooney, Adam Mitchell, Dave Webster, Michael Barker; David Scully, Dean Zambra (Philip Hughes, 88’), Graham Kelly, David Cassidy, Adam Hanlon; Jake Kelly.

Derry City: Ger Doherty; Shaun Kelly, Shane McEleney, Aaron Barry (Ryan McBride, 88’), Dean Jarvis; Josh Tracey, Sean Houston, Philip Lowry (Ryan Curran, 45’), Barry McNamee, Mark Timlin; Rory Patterson.

Referee: Rob Rogers

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About the author:

Ryan Bailey

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