Derry City got back to winning ways on Friday evening when they recorded their sixth win of the Airtricity Premier Division against bottom of the table U.C.D. at the Belfield Bowl.
Declan Devine’s men finished the game with 10 men when defender Simon Madden received a second yellow card in the 85th minute but it was Stephen McLaughlin’s first half goal which was to prove decisive.
Friday’s win over the Students is a welcome one for manager Devine, especially after last week’s dreadful 3-0 defeat at the hands of Drogheda United at the Brandywell.
Derry’s mounting injury list had been the talking point around Brandywell this week and when it was confirmed that Derry front man Rory Patterson had torn his hamstring in training the management team would have been forgiven for feeling despair.
Devine reacted immediately to the news that Patterson would be unavailable for at least six weeks and signed former Monaghan United teenage striker Connor Murphy.
Dubliner Murphy scored against Derry when they beat Monaghan at Gortakeegan 4-1 earlier in the season. The young forward did not feature against U.C.D. on Friday but may get his chance when Derry welcome Sligo Rovers to the Brandywell next Friday.
Derry had an early chance to take the lead when a Dermot McCaffrey free-kick on the right was headed wide by centre-back Ryan McBride.
The Students probably should have taken the lead in the 19th minute when a clever ball over the top by Paul Corry enabled midfielder Robbie Benson to find the target but Benson’s shot was saved by Derry ‘keeper Gerard Doherty at the second attempt.
U.C.D. had yet another chance to take the lead on the half hour mark when a Chris Lyons found the unmarked Tyrone McNelis with a remarkable ball on the right.However, Lyons’s low cross was fired wide.
Derry took the lead in the 32nd minute. Owen Morrison played a fantastic pass through the heart of the U.C.D. defence to Stephen McLaughlin who fired the ball past ‘keeper John Kelly.
Derry and Stephen McLaughlin went close to doubling their tally in first half injury time. Dave O’Connor was shown a yellow card for a challenge on Ryan Curran. Derry’s resulting free was played to the back post and McLaughlin’s header went inches wide.
The Students missed a fantastic chance of an equaliser in the 55th minute when second half substitute Samir Belhout saw his header dropped by Doherty, but the danger to City was averted.
Doherty came to Derry’s rescue on the hour mark when he saved an effort from Benson.
And he was to be called on yet again.
U.C.D. went close to netting an equaliser in the 84th minute when a back heel by substitute Dean Clarke presented Benson with a chance to fire a shot on goal. Benson’s shot had plenty of power and direction but was brilliantly tipped over the crossbar by the Derry keeper.
City were reduced to ten men in the 85th minute when Simon Madden was sent off after receiving a second yellow card.
Next up for the Candy Stripes is Sligo Rovers at the Brandywell next Friday. Kick-off 7.05p.m.
UCD: John Kelly; Daniel Ledwith, Mick Leahy, David O’Connor, Ciaran Nangle; Tyrone McNelis (Dean Clarke 75’),Paul Corry, Paul O’Conor, Chris Mulhall (Samir Belhout 45’), Robbie Benson; Chris Lyons
Subs not used: Mark McGinley, Barry McCabe, Hugh Douglas, Gary Burke, Toma Boyle
Derry City: Ger Doherty; Simon Madden, Shane McEleney, Ryan McBride, Dermot McCaffrey ;, Stephen McLaughlin (Michael Duffy , Ruaidhri Higgins, Owen Morrison (Barry McNamee 59’); David McDaid, Ryan Curran (Michael Barr 86’)
Subs not used: Eugene Ferry, Barry McNamee, Tony McNamee, Matthew Henry
Referee: James McKell