Derry City . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2
Bohemians . . . . . . . . . . . . . 0
THE return of Stewart Greacen to Derry City’s wounded panel told its own story at the Brandywell last night.
The 30-year-old Scot may have lost a yard or two but the qualities he brings to the defensive mix certainly shone against Bohemians, as the Candy Stripes were obviously more organised and disciplined along the back four.
But while it would also be fair to suggest that the Derry backline were never seriously troubled against a Bohemians team which huffed and puffed in the final third, a clean sheet, two goals and three points will have placed a smile on Declan Devine’s face.
It was certainly a deserving victory but, at the same time, having to wait until five minutes before the end to finally kill off any hopes of a Bohemians equaliser, kept the faithful in a nervous frame of mind.
So Derry having finally ended a run of four consecutive league defeats on home soil - Derry hadn’t won at the Lone Moor Road venue since May 21st last when defeating Bray 3-2. Many will believe the corner has now been turned.
Back to Friday night and while it certainly wasn’t a classic performance, a win is a win.
Derry did play well in the first half, stroking the ball comfortably around the park as Bohemians were always prepared to sit back and hit on the break in an effort to score.
However, the home side countered the visitors’ 4-5-1 formation by getting their own full-backs and wingers forward as often as possible.
Having bossed the ball for lengthy spells, Derry did look out of sorts in the final third and as they failed to turn their dominance of possession into goals, the small attendance had their worries.
But step forward new hitman, Conor Murphy, who broke the deadlock in the 27th minute from a setpiece.
Simon Madden floated the ball into the box and when Bohemians failed to adequately clear the danger, the former Monaghan striker took control before swivelling and hammering a low right foot shot into the net from 18 yards.
The home side continued to dominate after the break and while they did manage to create scoring chances, they failed to effectively kill of the match until five minutes from the end.
Protecting their slender lead, Derry broke from the half-way line with Bohs looking extended. Owen Morrison found Barry Molloy and he played a captain’s role when opting to unselfishly set-up the unmarked Stephen McLaughlin. The winger, having taken the pass in his strike, gleefully stroked the ball beyond the reach of the advancing Bohemians keeper McNulty and the Brandywell erupted.
Having ended that losing sequence on home soil, Brandywell boss Declan Devine will head for the County Wicklow seaside for the Bray Wanderers match tomorrow night in a confident frame of mind, seeking back-to-back league victories.
DERRY CITY – Doherty; Madden, McBride (S. McEleney, 84), Greacen, McCaffrey; Morrison, Molloy, Higgins, McLaughlin; Farren (McDaid, 70), Murphy (McEleney, 70).
BOHEMIANS – McNulty; Pender, McMillan, Feely, Barker; Buckley, Traynor (O’Connor, 66), Mulcahy, McEvoy, Mulligan (Wilson, 60); Carr.
Referee – N. Doyle (Dublin).
SEE FULL COVERAGE OF TOMORROW NIGHT’S GAME AGAINST BRAY AT THE CARLISLE GROUNDS TUESDAY’S ISSUE OF THE JOURNAL.