Bohs clash was great advert for League of Ireland - Ruaidhrí Higgins

DERRY City manager Ruaidhrí Higgins felt Friday night's 2-2 draw against Bohemians, was a great advert for League of Ireland football and anyone who was at Dalymount Park, couldn't disagree.

 The Brandywell men battled back from going behind to James Clarke's early goal thanks to first half goals from Michael Duffy and Daniel Mullen, before Jonathan Afolabi's second half penalty settled the contest.

 However those goals only tells half the story, as the encounter really had everything, with both sets of players giving their all in a quest for the three points and while they had to settle for a share of the spoils, the teams know if they continue to play like they did on Friday evening, then they'll win more games in the run-in.

 "I think it was an absolutely brilliant game of football. Two teams that just went after it," insisted Higgins.

 "We started the game really poorly and deservedly went behind, but I thought we showed real personality and character after that to claw our way back into the game.

 "We went in leading at half-time and a lapse in concentration has done us for the equaliser. (James) Talbot has made a world class save from Ben Doherty and we should have had a stone-wall penalty at the death, but it wasn't given.

 "I'm really proud of the players and we've a lot of players who are playing at a high level at the minute and we might look back at this at the end of the season as hopefully a decent point."

 The Candy Stripes went into the Bohs game off the back of two penalty shoot-out defeats to Tobol and St Patrick's Athletic in the Europa Conference League and FAI Cup respectively, but Higgins was delighted with how they responded to those set-backs.

 "The players passed the test of those defeats," he added. "They're going to the well every single week and they're giving absolutely everything.

 "We're playing some good stuff, there's a wee bit of naivety in our play at times tonight (Friday), but we played at a really high tempo and I thought in their last 25 minutes we looked like the team that was going to go and win it, but we just couldn't kick the door through."

 With only nine games remaining and sitting seven points behind champions Shamrock Rovers, albeit having played a game less than the leaders, the 38-year-old concedes they do need to start winning matches.

 "We do know that we need to win a lot of matches between now and the end of the season," he explained.

 "Dalymount is one of the most difficult fixtures that we have remaining, so I'm glad it's out of the way and we'll now have full focus going into the Dundalk game this Friday."

 The Limavady man was delighted that striker Mullen scored his first goal for the club.

 "I thought Daniel was excellent in the game," he stated. "Talbot made another brilliant save from his header and he led the line really well for us.

 "He showed a lot of promise tonight and I'm delighted that he's off the mark and the timing is good for both him and us."

 As for his opposite number Declan Devine he conceded he's delighted to see the back of his former club.

 "I think it was two really good teams and two teams that set-up the right way," confirmed Devine.

 "I think the attacking options that both teams have is credit to the two clubs and at the end of the day we felt we could have been out of sight in the first 20 minutes and then Derry, with the players they have, caused us huge problems and found themselves 2-1 up, but our guys have fantastic spirit and commitment.

 "At 2-2 I felt both teams went for it and that has been the case right throughout our season. We tried to win every game, but we had to settle for a point.

 "There's still a lot of points to play for and I have to admit I'm glad to see the back of Derry, because the games that we've played against them have been nip and tuck and every little between the sides.

 "We beat Derry at the Brandywell and drew the other game there. They beat us here and drew, so if that's the barometer for us then it's big steps from us, but at the same time we want to continue to get better and we feel we still have a few gears to go through."