Caolan McAleer of Finn Harps challenges his man during Friday night's game. Pic: Thomas Gallagher.
A fourth defeat on the bounce saw Finn Harps drop bottom of the Premier Division after another disappointing night at Finn Park.
Finn Harps . . .0
Bray Wanderers . . . 3
Harps, at times, played well in this game, especially in the first half. However, Bray were clinical in front of goal and claimed the points to stay second in the table.
They close the gap on the run-away leaders Cork City to 12 points after the Munster club dropped their first points of the season in a 1-1 draw at Galway.
That result, coupled with St. Patrick Athletic’s victory over Drogheda United saw Harps drop bottom of the table on goal difference.
In-form Bray didn’t take long to make the breakthrough on Friday night. There were only six minutes gone when Gary McCabe took advantage of a poor defensive header to rifle the ball home from 25 yards.
Harps went in search of an early response and they almost found an equaliser. They forced a string of corners from one of which Kilian Cantwell’s effort was cleared off the line by Mark Salmon. As the ball ran loose, Damien McNulty’s follow-up was deflected wide for a corner.
Harps played well in the first half and were the team on top with Paddy McCourt and Barry Molloy bossing the game from midfield.
Bray found it difficult to get their game going against a Harps team who seeme to grow in confidence as the half went on. Gareth Harkin had their best chance to score when he was slipped in by Molloy but Peter Cherrie was quick off his line to make the save.
But Bray always carried a threat in attack and against the run of play, they made it 2-0 on 40 when Ryan Brennan ran across the area before steering his shot beyond the dive of Gallagher and in off the base of the post.
It was a goal that seemed to knock the stuffing out of the home side who didn’t deserve to be two behind at the break.
They really needed an early response after half time but despite a bright start to the new half, they rarely threatened from open play.
Bray defended with far greater assurance in the second half and even after the introduction of Danny Morrissey for Gareth Harkin shortly after the hour, the home side struggled to create many openings.
Ciaran O’Connor was unlucky to see a bending effort drift over and on 76 he went close again, shooting into the arms of keeper Cherrie after good approach play by Sean Houston.
But Bray aren’t second in the table by accident. They saw the game out with some comfort with Aaron Greene scoring a classy third on 79, going on a mazy run from inside his own half before eventually slipping the ball past Gallagher.
Finn Harps: Ciaran Gallagher, Ethan Boyle, Ciaran Coll, Kilian Cantwell, Damien McNulty (Michael Funston 77), Barry Molloy, Caolan McAleer, Paddy McCourt (Simon McGlynn 82), Ciaran O’Connor, Sean Houston, Gareth Harkin (Danny Morrissey 63)..
Bray Wanderers: Peter Cherrie, Keith Buckley, Karl Moore, Tim Clancy, Conor Kenna, Ryan Brennan, John Sullivan (Anthony Flood 44), Mark Salmon, Gary McCabe (Jamie Aherne 83), Aaron Greene, Dylan Connolly.
Referee: Derek Tomney.