Derry City 0, Dundalk 1
DANE Massey was hailed a hero for Dundalk at the Brandywell, the defender netting the game’s only goal in the second half but it was a strike which could so easily have been avoided according to a disappointed Derry City boss, Peter Hutton.
“It just caught us cold,” said Hutton of Massey’s goal. “It was a catalogue of errors. We just stood off them and our two centre halves were just too far apart and allowed Dane Massey to run inside and get the freedom to score.
“It’s disappointing because it’s probably the only time we let them get a run on us like that because I thought defensively we were good. Overall it’s disappointing,” he continued.
Indeed, Derry City will have few complaints, their lack of punch in the final third clearly a problem as new strikers, Anthony Elding and Cillian Morrison remain in the treatment room.
Stephen Kenny’s side more or less dominated the ball excepting a busy 15 minutes spell for the “Candy Stripes” after the break, but the home side’s lack of penetrationi was clear for all to see.
From the outset the visitors roved forward and David McMillan’s snap-shot was directed at the body of Derry keeper, Ger Doherty, who blocked the effort from close range.
And Derry had another lucky escape in the 28th minute.
A poor kick-out by Doherty was intercepted by John Mountney and when he found McMillan, the Derry keeper did well to block with his legs and clear the danger.
However, after the break the home side stepped up a gear with both Philip Lowry and Ryan Curran going close.
It just caught us cold. It was a catalogue of errors. We just stood off them and our two centre halves were just too far apart and allowed Dane Massey to run inside and get the freedom to score.Peter Hutton
In fact, Derry created their best scoring chance in the 56th minute when Curran sent Mark Timlin scampering clear on the right. However, as the winger was about to shoot Massey produced a superb tackle to save the day for Dundalk.
With the estimated attendance of over 3,000 on the feet, it was the visitors who finally broke the deadlock in the 64th minute.
Constantly probing the Derry defence, Ronan Finn produced a magnificent pass to sent Massey in the clear and he did well when guiding the ball home from just outside the penalty area.
That goal deflated Derry with Dundalk stepping up to control the game and the home side’s lack of a cutting edge was clear for all to see - new strikers, Anthony Elding and Cillian Morrison still in the treatment room.
With Dundalk comfortable in defence and retaining the ball with authority, Stephen Kenny will have been particularly happy with this performance.
Derry City - Doherty; S. Kelly (G. Kelly, 86), McBride, S. McEleney, Barry; Timlin (Daniels, 78), Lowry, McNamee, Houston; P.McEleney; Curran.
Dundalk - Rodgers; Gannon, Boyle, Gartland, Massey; Shields; Mountney (Grimes, 90), Towell, Finn, Horgan (Meenan, 61); McMillan (Byrne, 77).
Referee - Mr. P. Tuite (Dublin).