Saturday 28 January 2023 Dublin: 6°C
Presseye/Lorcan Doherty; ©INPHO/Presseye/Lorcan Doherty/INPHO
# bitter ending
After a magnificent late comeback, Derry pipped by Bray thanks to last-gasp Clancy winner
It was a highly-charged atmosphere in Buncrana as Derry played for the first time since Ryan McBride’s passing.

Derry City 2
Bray Wanderers 3

ON A NIGHT where Derry City’s late inspirational skipper Ryan McBride was remembered at Maginn Park, it was experienced centre half Tim Clancy who hit the headlines with a thunderous stoppage-time header to earn Bray Wanderers a dramatic victory.

Bray had taken a two goal lead into the interval following a stunning free-kick from Gary McCabe and a clinical finish from Aaron Greene.

But Derry bravely fought back despite the loss of the club’s two most senior players as Rory Patterson and Gerard Doherty both picked up injuries.

Aaron McEneff got the Candystripes back in it from the penalty spot on 64 minutes and Dean Jarvis looked like he had clinched a deserved draw with six minutes to go with a terrific effort.

However, in the dying seconds of the game, Clancy converted form the corner to get Harry Kenny’s men back on the winning trail and on the coattails of Cork and Dundalk.

Karen Pyne erects a banner in tribute to late captain Ryan McBride Presseye / Lorcan Doherty; ©INPHO/Presseye/Lorcan Doherty/INPHO Presseye / Lorcan Doherty; ©INPHO/Presseye/Lorcan Doherty/INPHO / Lorcan Doherty; ©INPHO/Presseye/Lorcan Doherty/INPHO

It was a highly charged atmosphere at the Buncrana venue as the crowd paid tributes to late captain Ryan McBride.

City Cubs released red and white balloons following a minute’s applause while the club’s Under-19 representatives formed a number five – the shirt number worn by the late City skipper.

City welcomed back Rory Patterson and Conor McDermott who had both returned for the first time since sustaining their respective injuries in the opening game of the season at Dalymount Park.

And Patterson should have opened his season’s account in the opening minutes when Aaron McEneff’s cross was flicked towards the back post but the City striker failed to apply the vital touch.

Members of the Derry City FC Cubs who released balloons in memory of club captain Ryan McBride prior to kick off Presseye / Lorcan Doherty/INPHO Presseye / Lorcan Doherty/INPHO / Lorcan Doherty/INPHO

It was an understandably nervous start by the home side with emotions running high and Bray almost capitalised from a Dylan Connolly’s flick on after seven minutes as Greene ran through on goal but his left footed strike went narrowly wide.

The ball fell kindly to Patterson, who had peeled off his man at the back post, from Nicky Low’s corner on nine minutes but his snap-shot went wide of the target.

And Patterson tried his luck again on 14 minutes as he made a yard on the edge of the penalty area and his curling effort went wide of the upright.

From a short corner two minutes later McNamee clipped the ball into the six yard area and Patterson’s header was flicked onto the crossbar superbly by Peter Cherrie’s outstretched hand.

The ball fell to McNamee at the back post and his diving header crashed off the post and the chance was lost.

For all of Derry’s dominance it was the visitors who took the lead on 28 minutes courtesy of McCabe’s terrific bending free-kick from 25 yards  - his sixth goal of the season.

One minute later Schubert found himself in on goal but the Austrian’s strike on the volley was parried away by Cherrie.

Derry suffered another blow when Patterson’s evening came to an end after picking up a knee injury but the Candystripes didn’t let up.

Conor McDermott and Aaron Greene Presseye / Lorcan Doherty; ©INPHO/Presseye/Lorcan Doherty/INPHO Presseye / Lorcan Doherty; ©INPHO/Presseye/Lorcan Doherty/INPHO / Lorcan Doherty; ©INPHO/Presseye/Lorcan Doherty/INPHO

Ronan Curtis powered his header over the bar from eight yards from McEneff’s corner kick as the Derry attacks began to build momentum.

From another corner Dean Jarvis hooked the ball towards the back post and it almost crept into the net.

Bray doubled their lead 60 seconds before the break having soaked up the pressure and it was a classy finish from Greene which gave the Seagulls the cushion going into the interval.

The Bray striker latched onto a long punt upfield from Hugh Douglas and blasted his first time strike into the far corner past the helpless Gerard Doherty.

Two stunning strikes were the difference at half-time but Derry will have been regretting a plethora of missed chances.

But City’s night was to get worse as captain, Doherty failed to come out for the second half having sustained an injury and he was replaced by Eric Grimes – Derry without their two most senior players.

And former Leeds United and Cork City keeper, Grimes was soon called into action as he did superbly to parry clear McCabe’s dangerous free-kick from the edge of the box.

At the other end Nathan Boyle reacted quickest to the loose ball and blasted towards goal on the half volley  but Cherrie produced a fantastic reaction save to deny the City striker.

Exclusive Six
Nations Analysis

Get Murray Kinsella’s exclusive analysis of Ireland’s Six Nations campaign this spring

Become a Member

Curtis then volleyed just wide of the target on the hour mark as yet another chance went begging for the home lot.

Bray players appeal to referee Derek Tomney after he awarded a penalty against them Presseye / Lorcan Doherty/INPHO Presseye / Lorcan Doherty/INPHO / Lorcan Doherty/INPHO

City finally got their just rewards on 64 minutes when Aaron McEneff was bundled over inside the area by Conor Kenna and referee, Derek Tomney pointed to the spot. McEneff stood up and sent Cherrie the wrong way from the spotkick.

Curtis was presented with a glorious chance to equalise with 12 minutes left on teh clock when Lukas Schubert played him through with a neat pass but he delayed his shot and Conor Kenna made a crucial last ditch challenge.

Dean Jarvis celebrates his goal Presseye / Lorcan Doherty; ©INPHO/Presseye/Lorcan Doherty/INPHO Presseye / Lorcan Doherty; ©INPHO/Presseye/Lorcan Doherty/INPHO / Lorcan Doherty; ©INPHO/Presseye/Lorcan Doherty/INPHO

Derry deservedly equalised following an outstanding strike from left back Jarvis who lifted the ball over the head of Cherrie and into the net with five minutes to go.

But Clancy delivered a powerful header from a corner kick right at the death to take maximum points for the visitors.

Derry City: G. Doherty (E. Grimes h-t); C. McDermott, A. Barry, D. Jarvis; N. Low, A. McEneff; L. Schubert, B. McNamee, R. Curtis; R. Patterson (Daniels 31), N. Boyle (M. Kennedy 65);

Subs Not Used: H. Monaghan,R. Holden, B. Doherty, S. Whiteside.

Bray: P. Cherrie; H. Douglas, C. Kenna, T. Clancy, C. Earley (A. Kehoe 38); K. Buckley ( J. Marks 74), M. Salmon, J. Sullivan, D. Connolly; G. McCabe (D. Noone 79); A. Greene;

Subs Not Used: L .Steacy, D. Foran, J. Aherne, G. Pender.

Referee: Derek Tomney (Dublin).

From unprecedented loss to collective pride: The League of Ireland really is a true ‘football family’

Derry boss wants players to control their emotions as title challenge resumes