DERRY CITY boss, Stephen Kenny is anxious to move on from Friday night’s embarrassing third round exit from the FAI Cup as the ‘Candy Stripes’ prepare for a defining period in the Airtricity Premier Division campaign.
The shock defeat was Kenny’s first defeat to a First Division side while managing a Premier Division club and although bitterly disappointed at the display against Wexford Youths, he was keen to concentrate on the crucial upcoming league clashes.
The high-flying Brandywell outfit have provided supporters with great value for money since their return to the top flight having claimed 6-0 and 7-0 wins, but they will need to bounce back from Friday’s demoralising defeat to the First Division strugglers as they take on four of the league’s top clubs during the next fortnight.
City travel to Richmond Park this Friday night before a trip to Shamrock Rovers on Monday followed by difficult home clashes against Bohemians and Sligo Rovers.
“Friday’s cup result was a bad result, there’s no getting away from it but there’s nothing we can do about it now,” said Kenny.
“We have to pick ourselves up, dust ourselves down because the next few weeks are going to be vital and we will have to be at our best.”
Kenny’s troops were certainly not at their best against Noel O’Connor’s struggling First Division side on Friday night as a Danny Furlong hat-trick and a strike from Ben Ryan ensured progression to the next round for the Ferrycarrig Park team.
And while Kenny admitted that the display simply “wasn’t good enough’ he defended his decision to rotate his team selection.
Striker, David McDaid came in for the in-form Eamon Zayed while Michael McCrudden replaced Gareth McGlynn on the right wing and Stephen McLaughlin started on the left in place of the rested Patrick McEleney.
“I wanted to use the game as an opportunity to give some of the other players a chance,” explained the Derry boss. “James McClean is suspended for Friday’s game against St. Patrick’s Athletic and Gareth McGlynn and Eamon Zayed are on three yellow cards - I wanted the other players to have a go for a change.
“I hoped that if we had have won the game the players could use it as a positive experience and that would in turn benefit the rest of the squad for the rest of the season - sadly it didn’t work and I am extremely annoyed at the final result.
“Kevin Deery returned against Galway earlier in the week and I decided that it was too risky to let him play in another game so close to just returning from his calf injury. I suppose with the benefit of hindsight he could have started but, like I said, it would have been very risky.
“We were very disappointed after the game but if truth be told the performance just wasn’t good enough.
“It’s a strange experience for myself as I have never lost to a First Division team while managing in the Premier Division.
“We started on the front foot and things were going very well but the first goal we conceded was a poor one to concede. Some of the players were trying too hard to impose themselves on the game while others lacked composure.
“The penalty we gave away for their second goal was just crazy - we should never have been in that position. To have conceded two was bad enough but for us to go and concede four is just crazy. It was an awful journey home.”
To concede four goals against a Wexford side who had recorded just two wins in all competitions this season was an unfathomable scenario before kick-off, however, the First Division men thoroughly deserved their passage through to the fourth round draw as they totally outclassed and out-fought Derry for long periods of the game.
Derry’s failure to get to grips in the midfield area sent alarm bells ringing and it manifested itself when they fell two goals adrift before the break, leading Kenny to make two half-time substitutions in an effort to revive his side’s flagging cup hopes.
However, Wexford Youths refused to bow to their more highly vaunted rivals, for they continued to boss the game through their excellent midfield of Patsy Malone, Ben Ryan, Craig Wall and Kevin Rowe.
With Darragh Walshe providing the physical presence up front it left the sharp and skilful Danny Furlong with space. He clinically finished his goal chances, and it was only resolute defending that denied him at least one more goal.
But Derry City failed to bring their league form to this game. It was a desperately disappointing showing from a side chasing Shamrock Rovers at the top of the Premier Division.
There was an early chance for Derry after just three minutes but David McDaid, having lobbed a ball across goal over the head of ‘keeper Pakie Holden, saw the ball rebound off the inside of the post before being cleared to safety.
With Wexford content to soak up the pressure and close the game down in midfield, Derry City lost their shape with no real pattern to their game.
It was essentially a contest that was being battled out in midfield although Daniel Lafferty forced a fine save out of ‘keeper Holden after 13 minutes.
Minutes later home keeper Holden had to dash from his line to beat the lurking McDaid to a long ball, while he also go down well after 19 minutes to grasp a low Eddie McCallion shot by the left hand post.
Wexford were gradually beginning to impose themselves on the game and in their first threatening attack, Kevin Rowe was fouled 30 metres from goal but Dean Broaders’ well struck free-kick was headed wide by Patsy Malone.
The Wexford boys were now beginning to threaten more and the breakthrough arrived on 31 minutes when Kevin Rowe played a delightful ball through for Danny Furlong to coolly slot low under keeper Gerard Doherty into the bottom right corner of the net.
While Derry City were enjoying more of the possession after this, they were dealt a serious blow two minutes into additional time when Barry Molloy was adjudged to have taken down Dean Broaders after a fine run leaving Furlong to slot home the penalty.
Kenny must have felt his side’s cup chances were slipping rapidly for he introduced both Eamon Zayed and Gareth McGlynn for the second half, but it was still Wexford who were demonstrating the real cutting edge.
Three minutes into the second half, Ben Ryan had a shot tipped over the bar by Doherty, while at the opposite end, Shane Nolan cleared an Eamon Zayed shot off the line. Both Lafferty and Furlong went close before the homeside struck for their third goal on 70 minutes.
Darragh Walshe played a one-two with Furlong and it was Ben Ryan whose shot took a deflection, rising over Doherty into the top left hand corner of the net, leaving them with a 3-0 advantage.
Furlong went on to complete his hat-trick after linking up with substitute, David Grincell to slot the ball home from close range eight minutes from the end.
Derry substitute, Zayed had a consolation goal two minutes deep into additional time when he drove across Holden into the opposite corner of the net but it proved to be merely a consolation.
Wexford Youths - Pakie Holden, Shane Nolan, Martin Kehoe, Karl Keogh, Dean Broaders, Patsy Malone, Ben Ryan, Craig Wall, Danny Furlong, Eoin Kinsella 90), Darragh Walshe (Muzzi Mullen 90), Kevin Rowe (David Grincell 57).
Derry City - Gerard Doherty, Eddie McCallion (Patrick McEleaney 67), Barry Molloy, Stuart Greacan, Ruairi Harkin, David McDaid, James McClean, Stephen McLaughlin (Eamon Zayed 45), Ruaidhri Higgins, Michael McCrudden (Gareth McGlynn 45), Danny Lafferty.
Referee - Mr. Jim McKell (Tipperary).