Eamon Zayed’s 17th goal of a productive season fired Derry up to third place in the Airtricity League Premier Division. The striker bagged his goal in the 65th minute to break the deadlock at the Carlisle Grounds against his former club, before Daniel Lafferty’s sixth of the league campaign settled the issue.
The result saw Stephen Kenny’s men leap above St Patrick’s Athletic and extend their unbeaten run to nine matches.
For their opener, the Candystripes started a move near their own left corner and broke up the pitch. Gareth McGlynn then sprayed the ball back out to the left flank to James McClean.
Being watched by scouts from Wigan, Reading and Peterborough, McClean jinked inside and then out before delivering a pinpoint cross for Zayed to score at the back stick with a diving header, which went in off the underside of the crossbar.
It got better for the visitors as they doubled their lead in the 73rd minute. McClean was again the provider as he whipped in a right-wing corner left footed. Full-back Lafferty was left unmarked to steer a downward header into the far corner of the net.
It looked as if Derry would register their 15th clean sheet of the campaign when Ger Doherty brilliantly tipped Dan McGuinness’ free-kick onto the upright in the 87th minute.
But the Wicklow club did pull one back in stoppage time as John Mulroy powered in a header from McGuinness’ corner.
Having starred against Shamrock Rovers last week, City keeper Doherty continued that form in this encounter with a superb showing. With just two minutes on the clock he produced a point-blank wonder save to deny Chris Shields as the stand-in Bray skipper met Shane O’Neill’s cross six-yards out.
Derry nearly took the lead in the 26th minute. McGlynn’s 40-yard free saw Stewart Greacen get a flick in a crowded box and the ball bounced just wide of stationary Matt Gregg’s far post.
In the 33rd minute, Lafferty cut out a ball on the centre circle and fed McClean. His left flank pull-back set up McGlynn who scooped over the bar from 14-yards.
The Seasiders responded soon after as Sean Houston’s dead-ball fell to John Mulroy who lifted his drive high and over from 12-yards.Then on the stroke of half-time, City went close again. This timePatrick McEleney curled over the target from the edge of the penalty area.
In a tight second half, before Derry’s two goals, Adam Mitchell also almost diverted the ball into own net in the 65th minute with a sliced clearance from Lafferty’s driven centre.
Second leg matches are to played on 4 AugustSportsnewsireland.com will have live score updates on all GAA Championship matches over the summer.