ANTHONY Elding fears Derry City could be destined for mid-table mediocrity this season if they don’t quickly rediscover their goalscoring touch, starting with tonight’s visit to Limerick.
The Englishman was made to endure another frustrating night in front of the Brandywell support on Friday night as Derry were held to a dismal scoreless draw by a resurgent Bray Wanderers.
It was a third successive league game Derry have failed to find the net and considering they’ve registered just five goals from their opening eight games it’s becoming a major concern for the attacking contingent.
And Elding, who has just two goals to his name so far (both scored against Drogheda United), apologised to fans for the club’s lack of creativity.
“We need to start giving the fans something to sing about,” said Elding. “They keep turning out in numbers and I feel for them because we’re not doing enough in the final third. It’s a team effort and at the moment it’s not happening.”
It was generally a lacklustre display from the ‘Candy Stripes’ against a stubborn Bray side but for Elding it was a particularly disappointing day at the office.
Bray manager, Maciej Tarnogradzki deployed two holding midfielders to protect his back four in an ultra defensive line-up.
And Elding cut a lonesome figure up front despite Patrick McEleney’s best efforts to link-up.
The former Sligo Rovers hitman claims he’s the type of player who needs that extra bit of help in the final third before he ‘comes alive’ inside the six yard area.
And he agreed that he could benefit from playing with a second striker against the teams in the lower half of the table.
We need to move the opposition around otherwise you don’t score goals. It’s been good defensively but in terms of going forward we need to improve rapidly.Anthony Elding
“I’m not going to do Peter’s job for him because that’s his decision, he’s the gaffer and he’ll make the decisions,” said Elding. “But I do feel isolated at the moment.
“There’s been a lot of times in my career when I’ve played off somebody when I don’t really get involved too much and then come alive in the box - that’s my game, in the box.
“At the minute I’m not really getting the ball in there. I’ve played over 400 games and scored over 200 goals in my career and they’ve all been in and around the six yard box.
“At the moment it’s not working. We have to be a bit more positive when we have the ball. Maybe a few more one-twos in and around the box and getting the ball wide and into the box quickly and not taking that extra touch.”
Elding claims Derry were laborious in attack, dwelling too much on the ball and lacking the necessary spark to break down a stubborn Bray defence.
Mark Timlin was threatening at times down the Derry left flank but when the ball did find its way into the Bray penalty area, no none could find that vital final touch.
City did have the chances. Skipper, Ryan McBride, who allowed his frustrations to get the better of him at the start of the second half when sent off for an overly robust challenge, was presented with a free header but sent his effort safely into the arms of Stephen McGuinness
And Cillian Morrison was sent scampering clear by an incisive pass from Elding in the second half but the Letterkenny man’s tame shot was also thwarted by the Bray keeper.
For Elding, it was a quiet night all round and he admitted that both he and his teammates must improve rapidly if they are to make the most of the forthcoming games against the so called weaker teams in the league.
“It’s disappointing in terms of going forward,” he said. “That’s been the story of the season so far.
“We’ve defended really well but I think it’s fair to say we created nothing.
“And let’s be honest you don’t really win leagues and cups when you’re not getting chances. As a team, not just individuals but as a team we’re just not working the keeper enough.
“We’re trying to work on it during the week and trying to move the ball quickly but there’s too many touches and too many wrong decisions.
“We need to move the opposition around otherwise you don’t score goals. It’s been good defensively but in terms of going forward we need to improve rapidly.”
After a difficult start to the season, Derry now face a crucial month of fixtures where they play Bohemians, Longford Town and Galway United.
Games they simply can’t afford to drop any more points and Elding is hoping he can start chipping in with the goals.
“These are the games you need to win in fairness,” he agreed. “Lets be fair, without being too disrespectful to Bray but they’re not a great team and we should be beating them, especially at home.
“I just think we should be more positive and have a go at Brandywell. Defensively we’re sound and we’re picking up points but that just takes you so far.
“We’re picking up points here and there which is mid-table form. We’ve got ambitions this season to do something as a group and to do that we need to push on and be a bit more creative in terms of decision making, movement off the ball and trying to cause a few more problems for the opposition.
“The points here and there will only give you a mid-table finish and for a team like Derry that’s just not good enough. We have high expectations and it’s certainly not mid-table,” he concluded.