Derry City 2, Drogheda United 0
PETER Hutton got his Derry City managerial career off the mark at Brandywell as he guided his side to an impressive victory over Drogheda United to end a run of six league games without a win.
A terrific first half volley from Michael Duffy gave the home lot the impetus and Rory Patterson, who made his return from suspension, bundled in a second goal in the second half as City secured a much needed win in front of their home support.
Drogheda, still feeling the effects from their midweek demolition against Dundalk in the Louth derby, did have their chances but Derry did just enough to end a two game losing streak which had them lurking perilously close to the bottom of the table.
It was the first time since their 3-2 win over Athlone Town in early April that Derry had scored more than one goal in a game but they were made to work hard for maximum spoils against a defensively minded Drogheda side.
Hutton made two changes from the team which started the defeat to Cork with Patterson returning from suspension while Dean Jarvis replaced suspended skipper, Cliff Byrne.
The home side carved open an excellent chance after just six minutes as Patrick McEleney lofted his cross to the back post where Duffy had peeled off his marker but the winger screwed his shot harmlessly wide.
Drogheda came close to opening the scoring one minute later when Gavan Holohan let fly with a powerful first time effort from distance and it skimmed wide of Doherty’s left post.
City found the net in stunning fashion on 22 minutes when the impressive Barry McNamee’s inch perfect cross towards the far post was struck sweetly across goal on the volley by Duffy and the ball nestled into the bottom corner - his third goal of the campaign!
The visitors had their chances too and Gary O’Neill almost capitalised from a mis-placed Danny Ventre pass but the strike blasted his shot the wrong side of the upright,
And Sean O’Connor’s long range strike had to be tipped over the crossbar by the alert Doherty shortly afterwards.
But Patterson could have given Derry a comfortable lead at the break when put through on goal by McNamee but his shot was saved by the advancing David Ryan.
Patterson came close to doubling his side’s lead two minutes after the restart when he latched onto another McNamee pass and cut inside onto his right foot but his shot went wide of the far post.
Drogheda skipper, Paul Crowley came so close to netting an equaliser when his deflected shot from the edge of the area trickled wide with Doherty rooted to the spot.
Patterson then gave the home lot a two goal cushion when he bundled in from close range on 65 minutes.
Patrick McEleney showed tremendous pace and power to get past his man before finding the striker at the back post with a pinpoint cross and Patterson’s first time shot crept under the body of Ryan.
Derry were denied a genuine penalty shout 12 minutes before the end as Drogheda captain, Crowley appeared to impede Patterson inside the area but referee, Derek Tomney waved ‘play on’.
Derry saw the remainder of the game out as the win sees Derry leapfrog Drogheda in the table as the new manager attempts to lead his home town club back up the Premier Division table.
Derry City: G. Doherty; S. McEleney, R. McBride , A. Barry, D. Jarvis; P. McEleney (R. Curran 90), B. McNamee, D. Ventre B. Molloy, M. Duffy; R. Patterson; Subs Not Used - C. Gallagher, R. Collins, E. Curran, T. McNamee, R. Foy, N. Boyle.
Drogheda Utd: D. Ryan; M. Daly, A. McNally , C. McGuigan, S. Grimes; C. Walshe (C. Brady 54), G. Holohan (D. O’Brien h-t), D. Doyle, P. Crowley; G. O’Neill (P. Hughes 80); Subs Not Used - D. Connelly, P. Andrews, D. Mahon, D. Harding.
Referee - Derek Tomney (Dublin).