Derry City boss Higgins insists poor first half performance cost them in defeat to Dundalk

Eoin Toal pulled a goal back for Derry City in their SSE Aitricity Premier Division clash with Dundalk on Friday night but they couldn't find an equaliser against the Co Louth team Picture: Margaret McLaughlin

SSE Airticity Premier Division: Dundalk 2 Derry City 1

Manager Ruaidhri Higgins felt Derry City’s poor first half performance cost his side at Dundalk on Friday night.

The Candystripes, who suffered their first league defeat in eight games and could have lost by a bigger margin with young goalkeeper Nathan Gartside making a host of top drawer saves in the first half.

The Northern Ireland U21 international produced a stunning world class save to deny Pat Hoban a certain goal, but will be disappointed in the manner in which he conceded Daniel Kelly's opener just before the break. After the interval he could do nothing to keep out Hoban's second half penalty spot.

Higgins was happy that his side didn’t give up and after Eoin Toal had pulled a goal back, they were the team who were pushing for the all-important equaliser, but it never came, much to the Derry gaffer’s disappointment.

“It was a disappointing result, as I felt we could come here and win the game,” he added.

“We have given ourselves a bit of a mountain to climb with our first half performance, but I felt our second half performance is more like Derry City, which we all want to be associated with.

“We played the majority of the second half in their half and we were the dominant team. I suppose in the second half we did to them what they did to us in the first half and that’s the way I look at it.”

Higgins, who had a successful spell at Dundalk as a player, coach and assistant manager, believes despite their indifferent form, is old club still has one of the best squads in the Premier Division.

“Look no matter how Dundalk’s season has gone, they still have got really top quality players,” he insisted.

“When you are bringing David McMillan and Greg Sloggett off the bench, you are bringing on top quality players and you aren’t in a bad state.

“They have got really good players who can hurt you. Were too passive in the first half and that’s the bottom line.

“The second half is us, that’s the way we have been and that’s the minimum requirement and I believe if we give the second half performance over a longer period next Friday against Waterford, then we can win the game.”

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