Andrew Dempsey reports from the Carlisle Grounds
Bray Wanderers maintained their two-point lead at the top of the First Division table with a comprehensive three-nil win over Longford Town.
Sean McEvoy gave the hosts a deserved lead early in the second half, before he doubled their lead shortly afterwards.
Gary Shaw then scored to wrap things up with just over twenty minutes to play with his sixth goal of the season after a Dylan Barnett corner.
Top of the league heading into the game, Gary Cronin’s Bray Wanderers made one change from their recent late win over Wexford, with Jack Watson being the notable inclusion for the side.
Longford on the other hand went into the game just three points behind the Seagulls – and Daire Doyle kept with the same side that earned four points from their previous two league games against Shamrock Rovers II and Drogheda United.
The Red and Black – who were winless in three against Bray – started slowly and were nearly punished for their sloppy play.
Former Bohemians winger Ryan Graydon picked up on a long ball before he saw his shot crash off Lee Steacy’s crossbar.
The ball then found its way out to the right-hand side of the Bray attack seconds after, but Graydon could not convert his header at the back post.
At times, Town could not live with the hosts threat down both the left and right flanks, with Graydon and Thompson proving exactly why they are one of the most exciting duos in the second tier.
But it was a different duo who nearly combined to open the scoring for Bray after 18 minutes, but Aaron Barry’s header was cleared off the line by Joe Gorman after Dylan Barnett’s corner-kick.
However, after a slow start, Town grew into the game, and they had their first shot on goal of the game through sub Matthew O’Brien – but the former Phoenix FC schoolboy could not make enough of his free shot on goal.
Despite a brief spell of Longford pressure, the Seagulls regained control of the game and went close twice at the end of the first half to opening the scoring.
Firstly, midfielder Luka Lovic went close, but the ball would not drop to his feet in time to shoot on goal as Longford cleared.
And just minutes after, Gary Shaw missed a great chance at the back post after he was found by a lofted header from defender Barry at the near post.
However, he could not convert as Gary Cronin’s young guns somehow went in at the break level on terms with a Longford Town side that never got going.
After dominating the first-half, Bray got their reward just thirty seconds into the second half as Sean McEvoy slotted home low into the far corner.
McEvoy was found free in the penalty area by Lovic and the former Ballinamallard star fired home to give the hosts a deserved lead.
And they would double their lead just minutes after the hour-mark as McEvoy netted his second of the night.
The 18-year-old midfielder poked home after a great through ball from Graydon set him free, and he made no mistake to give his side a two-nil lead.
And it was then three after 69 minutes, as Gary Shaw came back to haunt his former club yet again with a glancing header at the near post.
The former Longford Town striker headed home after being left unmarked in the penalty area – in a carbon copy of the goal he scored at Bishopsgate last month.
Bray continued to press for a fourth, with substitute Darragh Lynch blazing over the bar after Lee Steacy was caught off his line for Daire Doyle’s charges.
The result sees Longford Town drop down to fifth position in the table while Bray Wanderers remain two points clear at the top of the table with six to play.
Bray Wanderers: Brian Maher; Dylan Barnett (Tristan Noack Hofmann 85), Kilian Cantwell, Sean McEvoy (Paul Keegan 85), John Ross Wilson; Luka Lovic, Callum Thompson (Derek Daly 78), Jack Watson (Joe Doyle 66); Ryan Graydon, Gary Shaw (Darragh Lynch 79).
Subs not used: Adam Hayden, Marlon Marishta.
Booked: Jack Watson (38), Dylan Barnett (78), Luka Lovic (90), Darragh Lynch (90).
Sent off: None.
Longford Town: Lee Steacy; Michael McDonnell, Joseph Manley, Joe Gorman, Shane Elworthy; Dylan Grimes (Matthew O'Brien 17), Aodh Dervin; Rob Manley, Adam Evans, Dean Byrne (Aaron McCabe 70).
Subs not used: Sam Verdon, Aaron McNally, Dylan Hand, Luke Dennison.
Booked: Aodh Dervin (55).
Sent off: None.
Referee: Alan Carey.
ExtraTime.ie Player of the Match: Sean McEvoy (Bray Wanderers).