DERRY CITY 1
SLIGO ROVERS 0
ENDA Curran’s was delighted to get his Derry City career up and running with a superb winning strike which secured the ‘Candy Stripes’ first league victory of the season and a long overdue win over North West neighbours Sligo Rovers at Brandywell Stadium.
The Galwegian’s second half strike ended the Bit O’Red’s five game winning run over City in the league dating back to 2012 and, although he warmly welcomed the plaudits for his 20 yard stunner after the match, he praised the efforts from the whole team.
“It was great to get off the mark,” said Curran. “The lads worked incredibly hard and it just came dow to being a team. They’re a great bunch of lads and it wasn’t just the 11 it was the 16 who were brilliant.
“Overall I wasn’t happy with my performance and I know Roddy (Collins) wasn’t happy - he made that loud and clear when I kept giving the ball away but I kept my head down and got the chance and thankfully I struck it well and it went in. So hopefully there’s more goals to come.”
Curran’s 53rd minute goal proved decisive in this tense encounter but Derry goalkeeper, Gerard Doherty deserves credit for several excellent savesin the closing stages and in particular his magnificent point blank stop to deny John Russell’s header with 12 minutes to go.
Derry boss, Collins made three changes to the team which held champions St Pat’s to a scoreless draw at Brandywell last weekend. Curran, Aaron Barry and debutante, Jon Paul McGovern made the starting line-up at the expense of Patrick McEleney, Ryan McBride and Barry Molloy.
The ‘Bit O’ Red were without Danny North (toe), Seamus Connelly (groin), Raffale Cretaro (calf) and the long-term injured, Gavin Peers (knee) for the visit to Foyleside.
The visitors started the game in the ascendancy but after a shaky opening period Derry eventually settled and almost broke the deadlock on 15 minutes through Rory Patterson.
The Derry striker was gifted possession by a mis-placed pass from Joseph Ndo and, after getting past Jeff Henderson, he improvised well with a snapshot which was put behind by the keeper.
Curran, deployed in an unfamiliar central midfield position in the absence of Barry Molloy who was dropped to the bench, tested Gary Rogers with an effort on the volley from distance on the half hour mark but the Sligo keeper saved comfortably.
Three minutes after the interval Russell sent Sean Maguire scampering clear on goal but his strike was palmed behind by the alert Doherty.
The Candy Stripes opened the scoring on 53 minutes when Aaron Barry found Curran on the edge of the area and the striker’s powerful shot found the net in off the left post, giving Rogers no chance.
It was a terrific strike and City almost pounced again two minutes later after a quick counter attack. Michael Duffy showed great pace and strength to get in behind Alan Keane and with Patterson and Stewart in support he opted to shoot and Rogers parried it clear.
Sligo responded with two great chances in the space of as many minutes. Firstly Aaron Greene got to the byline and pulled ball back towards the six yard box but Eric Odhiambo couldn’t get a telling touch on the ball and the chance was lost.
Sean Maguire then drove down the right flank and his dangerous low cross across the face of goal was somehow put the wrong side of the post by Greene under pressure from Aaron Barry.
Sligo came so close to an equaliser on 72 minutes from Ross Gaynor’s corner kick but Evan McMillan’s downward header bounced narrowly over the crossbar.
The visitors were beginning to turn the screw and Doherty had to be at his best to save a close range header from Russell after McMillan had headed Greene’s lobbed pass into his path.
It was a nervous end to the game for the home side but they did enough to close out the game and record a long awaited home victory over their North West counterparts - a first home win in the league since 2007!
Derry City - G. Doherty: R. Collins (D. Elebert 11), A. Barry, C. Byrne, D. Jarvis ; M. Stewart, J.P. McGovern (R. Curran 73), D. Ventre, M. Duffy; E. Curran, R. Patterson (B. Molloy, 58); Subs Not Used - C. Gallagher, M. Timlin, R. McBride, S. McEleney.
Sligo Rovers - G. Rogers; A. Keane, E. McMillan, J. Henderson, R. Gaynor; E. Odhiambo (P. O’Connor 69); J. Russell, J. Ndo, D. Cawley (K. Spillane 82), A. Greene; S,Maguire (J. Loftus 87); Subs Not Used - D. Ledwith, R. Brush, J. Dykes.
Referee - Derek Tomney (Dublin)