Hutton happy with progress after battling display against champions

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Peter Hutton reflected positively on Derry City’s home draw with St Patrick’s Athletic on Friday night, claiming both the players and coaching staff can ‘take heart’ from a much improved performance.

The ‘Candy Stripes’ assistant boss admitted the players will take time to grow together given the number of new additions but he was delighted with the battling qualities the home side displayed to record their first clean sheet of the new campaign.

Derry City winger, Michael Duffy holds his head in his hands after St Pat's keeper, Brendan Clarke somehow deflected his 93rd minute strike over the crossbar.

Derry City winger, Michael Duffy holds his head in his hands after St Pat's keeper, Brendan Clarke somehow deflected his 93rd minute strike over the crossbar.

“We had a great chance right at the end and unfortunately we didn’t capitalise on it,” said Hutton of Michael Duffy’s late chance. “Having said that the keeper made a good save.

“Both teams had a few chances and it was literally on a knife-edge, but I thought it was a decent, battling performance and it was our first clean sheet of the season so we can take the positives out of it.

“It’s going to be a slow process in terms of the new boys bedding in and getting used to each other, it takes time,” he added. “It was good that we managed to keep a clean sheet and we’re looking fairly solid defensively and that’s something to build on. So we’ll take heart from this performance.”

The major incident in the first half of Friday’s encounter was St. Pat’s claims for a penalty when Ryan McBride appeared to bring down Saints’ striker, Christy Fagan inside the Derry area.

Referee, Paul McLaughin waved away the protests from the visitors but Hutton wasn’t quite as certain as the Monaghan based official.

“From where we were - well, I’ve seen them given, certainly. We’re a fair bit away from where it actually happened but it looked dodgy enough to say the least. I’ve seen them given but thankfully he didn’t give it.

“You have to be realistic because they had a couple of good chances themselves so a draw was probably a fair result. At the end it was almost like a chess match with both teams trying to outwit each other in terms of changing personnel and formations, but all round we were pleased.”

It was certainly a notable improvement from the last showing at Brandywell when City lost to Cork and with J.P McGovern making an appearance on the bench after receiving his international clearance and Barry McNamee on his way back from a troublesome knee injury, Hutton is glad to have increased competition for places going into a busy period.

“The boys are battling to a man and there’s good competition now. We’ll add J.P McGovern to that and Barry McNamee will train next week hopefully so things are on the up.

“We have Sligo again at the Brandywell this week, quickly followed by Dundalk away so it’s going to be a quick turnaround and you’re going to need everyone in the squad, especially over the course of the season.