DERRY CITY moved into second spot in the Airtricity Premier Division table following Friday night’s sensational victory over Bohemians at Dalymount Park. However, a controversial sending off just minutes before half time fashioned this victory, with the ‘Candy Stripes’ taking full advantage almost immediately to snatch the lead.
Derry will have no complaints about the game’s defining moment which occurred just two minutes before the break. Bohemians midfielder, Keith Buckley, was shown a straight red card following a challenge of Derry full-back, Daniel Lafferty, and while referee, Padraig Sutton, did not appear to be totally convinced his assistant on the line settled the issue. And on the stroke of half-time, the victim of that challenge. Lafferty, glanced Kevin Deery’s free-kick to the net to send Stephen Kenny’s side into the break in the ascendancy which, is must be said, was difficult for the Bohemians’ fans to take.Indeed, Bohs boss and former Derry supremo, Pat Fenlon, was also sent off during the half-time interval for what was understood to be vehement protestations, the Dubliner forced to watch the second half from the Dalymount television gantry.
And if the visitors were considered fortunate to lead at the break, few could argue that there second half display was both professional and determined.
Derry made their numerical superiority count from the re-start, their passing and movement causing the Bohemians defence no shortage of problems.
In fact, they went on to double their lead three minutes in, following what was a magnificent move which ended with striker, Eamon Zayed, playing the lively James McClean into a scoring position with a superb touch on the outside of his right boot.
And the 20-year-old Creggan man made no mistake when registering his fifth goal in five games and Derry City were on their way to what will prove a real confidence boosting victory as they now focus their attentions on tomorrow’s short trip to the Sligo Showgrounds to face yet another battle.
With Sligo surprisingly losing 2-1 at UCD on Friday night, the ‘Candy Stripes’ have now moved into second spot in the Airtricity Premier Division table and, no doubt, the rest of the challengers will sit up and take notice - the Foylesiders having again issued a statement of intent in relation to the Championship credentials.
But back to Friday’s game at Dalymount and Kenny, urging his players to become “streetwise” before the game, certainly got a response. That said, Derry actually did concede a late penalty, although that decision by the referee was dubious with six minutes remaining.
In the end, however, justice was served as Killian Brennan’s cheeky spotkick crashed off the crossbar, before the rebound was against headed against the woodwork by Anto Flood and Derry keeper, Gerard Doherty gleefully grabbed possession as his side extended their unbeaten run.
Bohemians had a number of clear-cut scoring chances in the first half. Former City winger Killian Brennan’s set pieces offering a real threat on occasion. After 20 minutes, one of Brennan’s set pieces resulted in Bohs’ best chance of the half. The first attempt blocked, his second cross found Owen Heary at the back post and the veteran defender’s header across goal was a good one. Gerard Doherty managed to palm it away, but Keith Buckley ran on to it and his thumping effort was deflected just wide.
Derry struggled and played most of the first without the ball, as Pat Fenlon’s men pressed on and continued to win free kicks in dangerous areas.
But all that was to change after 40 minutes. Bohs midfielder Kevin Buckley was adjudged to have gone in too hard for a 50/50 challenge on the edge of the Derry penalty area. Before the referee could even blow his whistle, 19-year-old Buckley went crashing into Daniel Lafferty, and after consulting with linesman Rafal Pieper, referee Padraig Sutton produced the red card.
Bohs’ fans were horrified by the decision, but it shouldn’t have come as a shock as both sides were flying in with somewhat reckless tackles ever since Anto Flood was booked in the 20th minute. The names of Gareth McGlynn’s and Stewart Greacen also went into the book.