Derry City come from behind to see off Sligo Rovers

Derry City’s Aaron McEneff celebrates his goal with Joshua Daniels in Friday night’s match against Sligo Rovers at the Brandywell
Picture by Margaret McLaughlin 
Séamus Crudden at the Brandywell

DERRY CITY came from behind to see off Sligo Rovers at the Brandywell on Friday night.

And for the second week in a row they deservedly collected three points in a game where they might have even won by a bigger margin. The Candystripes started like a house on fire and they should have taken the lead after two minutes as a super clipped pass from Rory Patterson released Ronan Curtis. He in turn found Lukas Schubert,  but his stinging drive from just inside the box was blocked by Rovers goalkeeper Ciaran Nugent.  

Rovers were denied the opening goal soon afterwards as a quickfire move ended with Philip Roberts’ clever chip from the edge of the box which had City keeper Gerard Doherty beaten, but came crashing back off the crossbar. Just after the midway point of the half, Derry had a good half chance, but Schubert’s centre into an unmarked Curtis was saved by Nugent who came off his line to gather the cross.  

Moments later Nugent was called into action again and this time he did well to push away Aaron McEneff’s long-range free-kick. On 34 minutes, more good work by Patterson set up Curtis, but his low drive was kept out by Nugent’s right boot. Right on the stroke of half-time Rovers took a shock lead as Pat McCann’s left-footed looping effort from the edge of the box sailed into the unguarded net after Doherty had initially pushed clear Craig Roddan’s cross.  

Patterson missed a glorious chance right at the start of the second half as he side-footed wide from 12 yards after Schubert’s cut-back had picked out the striker. Nugent was turning out to be the visitors’ hero as he made a super save to somehow keep out Conor McCormack’s well-hit drive from 10 yards.  

Deery deservedly equalised on 65 minutes as McEneff made no mistake from 25 yards drilling the ball low into Nugent’s right hand corner. Soon after that Patterson was inches away from giving Derry the lead, but his drive was superbly tipped over by a fully stretched Nugent. Derry took the lead on 76 minutes as a goalmouth scramble ended with Barry McNamee stepping in to close composure and slotted the ball home from 10 yards with his weaker right foot.

Elsewhere, Finn Harps all but secured their Premier Division status for another season after last night’s 0-0 draw away to Wexford Youths. It now means that the Leinster side must win both remaining league games, and hope that the Harps lose at home to Bohemians, to avoid a relegation play-off.

In a fantastic atmosphere at Ferrycarrig Park, the game started at an electric pace with both sides going for it. Despite the endeavour on show, chances were few and far between in the opening half hour. Packie Mailey did have a golden opportunity to put Harps into the lead after 34 minutes, but he blasted over when well placed.

Ryan Curran had another great chance for the away side just before the break, but he couldn’t force the ball home after Graham Doyle had denied Sean Houston. Wexford were far more threatening in the second half and they nearly took the lead when Danny Furlong was played through, but a fine save from Ciaran Gallagher denied him. 

The Harps’ goalkeeper was again called into action in the 58th minute as he produced another brilliant stop to deny Conor Whittle. Whittle then turned provider for Furlong, but his effort went wide as the home side pushed hard for that crucial goal. They continued to create chances and Paul Murphy and Whittle again went close to breaking the deadlock, but Ollie Horgan’s side held on to take another significant step towards safety. 


Derry City:
G Doherty, McDermott (Whiteside 80), Castells, Jarvis; Daniels, McCormack, McEneff, McNamee (B Doherty 80), Schubert (Boyle 70); Curtis, Patterson.
Sligo Rovers: Nugent, Boylan, Leahy, Peers, Donelon (Doyle 84); McCann, Roddan, Sadlier, Kearns, Russell (Place 77); Roberts.
Referee: R Matthews (Longford).

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