PRIOR to last Thursday night’s battle in Trabzon’s hostile Huseyin Avni Aker Stadium, many of you would have suggested that a 3-0 or 4-0 defeat against Trabzonspor would be acceptable from Derry City’s point of view.
And having fallen 2-0 down after 15 minutes, thoughts of a comprehensive, embarrassing defeat would have been on the cards.
But to have watched Davy McDaid (who was making his first start since returning to the club from York City) and Paddy Kavanagh amazingly help claw the “Candy Stripes” back into this Europa League tie, there will have been nothing but respect for Declan Devine, Paul Hegarty and their battle weary players following the final whistle.
Okay, Derry went on to concede another two goals and, no doubt, many supporters will look back on the concession of a few very, very soft strikes suggesting that the visitors could have done better.
For me, however, the ability to bounce back against all the odds and deal with the vociferous attendance of 25,000 hostile Turkish fans was something very special.
To have the audacity to equalise making it 2-2 was unbelievable and those watching the game could not believe their eyes when Kavanagh’s deflected shot found its way into the net.
Derry may have lost 4-2 in the end - much better than a 2-0 defeat - and, as Declan (Devine) maintains, the tie remains very much alive.
And, fingers crossed, an early Derry City goal this Thursday night at Brandywell Stadium would certainly raise quite a few eyebrows.
But no matter what happens in the second leg tie, Derry City has again acquitted itself extremely well having received the worst possible draw on both the competitive and travel fronts.
A 13 hours trip to the Black Sea resort of Trabzon facing a highly technical Trabzonspor team which harbours hopes on actually winning the Europa League this season, was never going to be an easy task.
But, not for the first time, the local club emerged with great credit in front of their 40 or so travelling fans.
And, hopefully, those 40 supporters will be joined by quite a few thousand more this Thursday night who will be out to show their support for the ‘Candy Stripes’.