There was no Friday the 13th nightmare for Dundalk, as they took sole possession of the Premier Division leadership.
Unbeaten away from Oriel Park in league action since May 2017 in 13 top-flight outings, Patrick Hoban’s goal midway through the first half gave the Lilywhites an edge.
They left the Carlisle Grounds with all three points, as substitute John Mountney blasted to the roof of the net in second-half stoppage time.
Though caretaker boss Graham Kelly patrolled the Bray touch-line, manager in waiting Martin Russell was in the dug-out directing affairs, as
they suffered a club record of nine losses in a row.
Separated by 20 points before kick-off, Wanderers started brightly, but the Wicklow side spurned a great chance to hit the front after just 13 minutes. Played in by Rónán Coughlan, Aaron Greene got between both Daniel Cleary and Stephen Folan, but the striker failed to break his season’s duck with a low drive from 16-yards that flashed just wide.
The visitors replied with Robbie Benson’s 21st-minute cross-shot from the left that was parried out from under his bar by Wanderers keeper Aaron Dillon.
Bray paid dearly for their miss, as Dundalk broke the deadlock after 26 minutes. Benson’s in-swinging corner was twice cleared by defending headers, but the ball dropped to Hoban, who drilled a low, half volley from 16-yards to the bottom right corner of the net for his sixth top-flight goal this term.
The home team responded with a 38th-minute opportunity that saw Greene latch onto Gary McCabe’s reverse pass to drill at Gabriel Sava, who parried the shot and gathered at the second attempt.
Then, in the final normal minute of the period, ex-Wanderer Sava got down low to smother McCabe’s effort, while seconds later, the custodian had to race from his line to thwart the breaking Paul O’Conor in the box.
The Seasiders went agonisingly close to grabbing an equaliser 12 minutes after the restart. Just in front of the centre circle, McCabe tried to catch Sava out, but the keeper scrambled back to claw the ball out just before his goal-line.
Standing in yet again for the injured Gary Rogers, Sava was required to palm out from under his cross-bar, when Irish U19 cap Dan McKenna’s shot from the right flank in the 64th minute.
However, Dundalk had the final say in the 94th minute. Michael Duffy wriggled free on the left by-line and sent a ball across the six-yard area. It came all the way through to the unmarked Mountney, who blasted in from eight-yards.
Dillon; McKenna (Jake Kelly 82), Douglas, Kenna, Lynch; O’Conor, Gorman (Pender 65); Coughlan, McCabe, Galvin (Heaney 74); Greene.
Sava; Gannon, Cleary, Folan, Massey; Shields; McGrath (O’Donnell 85), Benson, Adorjan (Mountney half time), Duffy; Hoban (Tagbajumi 73).
Sean Grant (Wexford).
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