Bray Wanderers 2
Finn Harps 0
Bray ended a five-game streak without a SSE Airtricity League First Division victory to climb back up to fourth in the table.
A goal in each period by Dane Massey and Harry Groome at the Carlisle Grounds on Friday saw the Green and White’s claim all three points against Finn Harps.
The win also resulted in a first clean sheet for Wanderers in seven outings in what was the first league meeting between the clubs at the venue since July 2017.
The home team made two changes to their line-up who’d drawn away to Wexford last week.
Winger Gerard Short came in off the bench while defender Cole Omorehiomwan returned after suspension.
U19 player Zach Nolan was included amongst the substitutes for the first time this season.
Bray had the better of the opening period exchanges and deservedly led 1-0 at the break.
But the away side improved after the break. And had several opportunities to level matters before Groome scored against them for the second time in this campaign late on.
On the back of two losses, the visitors came close after five minutes as Alex Moody denied Seamas Keogh with a fine leg block.
After that, the Seagulls dominated possession. They made that count in the 20th minute.
Shortt’s corner from the right was headed back across goal by Ben Feeney to the unmarked Massey with the home skipper drilling in low from close range.
Remarkably, it was the veteran defenders first score at the venue in Bray’s colours since April 2011.
Harps came close to equalising on 57 as Sean O’Donnell’s looping header cane back off the bar onto the post before the hosts cleared.
Then on 75, Moody parried Keogh’s effort. It rebounded off Groome with the keeper gathering the loose ball before the line.
But the Wicklow side wrapped up the points in the 86th minute.
Groome won possession in his own half and broke. He found Feeney wide left. The striker dinked a cross for Groome to lash a volley into the top right hand corner of the net.
There was still time for club captain Dave Webster to make a late cameo appearance on home turf this season.
In a strange footnote, the away club named only seven players on the bench. But two of their five second half substitutes were actually replaced before full time.
Bray Wanderers: Alex Moody; Eoin Farrell (Leon Ajala 87), Jack Hudson, Cole Omorehiomwan, Dane Massey; Luka Lovic, Harry Groome, Guillermo Almirall (Darren Craven 8); Conor Davis (Callum Thompson 68), Ben Feeney, Ger Shortt (Dave Webster 87)
Subs not used: Conor Knight, Ben Clarke, Daniel Chukwu, Zach Nolan, Stephen McGuinness.
Booked: Omorehiomwan 12, Lovic 48, Groome 70.
Finn Harps: Tim-Oliver Hiemer; Caoimhin Porter, Daithi McCallion, Keith Cowan, Shane McMonagle (Kevin Jordan 90 + 1), Ryan Flood; Noe Baba, Katlego Mashigo; Seamas Keogh; Filip Fjeldheim Da Silva (Okwuy Okwute half time) (Michael Harris 71), Sean O’Donnell (Damian Duffy 76) (Brendan McLaughlin 90 + 1).
Subs not used: Caoimhin Bonnar, Oisin Farrell.
Booked: Cowan 15.
Referee: Daniel Murphy (Dublin).
Pictures: Dermot O’Brien.