Aberystwyth Town 0, Derry City 5
(Derry City won 9-0 on aggregate)
JAMES McClean and Danny Lafferty may have arrived over 15 minutes late for last night’s Europa League tie at Park Avenue, but the former Derry City stars were not too disappointed to learn that the “Candy Stripes” had led 2-0 before they took their seats.
And two strikes after just 13 minutes against Aberystwyth Town ended this tie as a contest, securing Derry’s passage into the second qualifying round where they will face Shaktyor Soligorsk, from Belarus, next Thursday at the Brandywell.
But back to last night’s comfortable victory, Peter Hutton’s side refusing to exhibit complacency as they basically coasted to a deserved comprehensive aggregate win in the end.
Interestingly, Hutton went out of his way to inform his players that ‘Aber’ boss, Ian Hughes, held the view that Derry were no better than his side before they had their goalkeeper sent off in the opening tie.
And that at 11 v 11, he felt the 4-0 Brandywell mauling would not have materialised.
Those comments, therefore, served to dismiss any thoughts of complacency as Derry went about their business professionally, putting the tie out of the Welsh side’s hands before those opening 13 minutes had elapsed.
Predictably, Aberystwyth attempted to force an early breakthrough and while they did cause a few problems with Chris Venables heading wide during the early stages, the visitors struck back with the opening goal in the 11th minute.
Patrick McEleney delivered a teasing corner-kick and when the ball was flicked on by Aaron Barry, Michael Duffy was well placed to head it high into the net at the back post.
The visitors secured their passage to the second round when doubling their lead in the 13th minute, with another headed goal.
Right winger, Mark Timlin, worked his way to the end-line before he outwitted left-back, Cledan Davies, and his cross to the back post was gleefully diverted home by Barry McNamee who dived low to score.
Two goals to the good - 6-0 on aggregate - Derry continued to boss the ball, forcing their Welsh Premier Division side onto the back foot, the home side making very little impact in the final third of their picturesque Park Avenue home.
The first half goals had clearly taken the edge off this affair as the “Candy Stripes” began to coast to victory, the near capacity attendance of 1,000 seated home spectators fearing the worst.
Chris Venables headed wide during the early stages while Geoff Kellaway scuffed a shot when well placed in the 28th minute, the best opportunities “Aber” could offer as their visitors controlled the vital areas.
As expected, Derry moved further ahead on the hour when Rory Patterson timed his run to perfection when racing onto a high ball and he drove it past keeper, Phil Draper, giving the keeper no chance.
With Derry content to keep possession and run down the clock, Aberystwyth Town did have a chance to net a consolation goal in the 75th minute following a free kick, centre-half Antonio Corbisiero getting a head to the ball before Derry’s Cliff Byrne played a captain’s role when clearing the effort off his goal-line.
However, Derry refused to settle for what they had and, indeed, went on to secure a record aggregrate victory in European football when they netted two further strikes.
Timlin continued to work hard on the right and when he played a low cross into the penalty area five minutes from the end, Patterson pounced for what was an easy tap-in goal for his second strike.
With both sets of players and, indeed, supporters happy to settle for the result, an Aberystwyth Town defender foolishly upended Timlin as he burst into the 18 yards area, and the Belgian referee had no hesitation in pointing to the spot.
With Patterson eager to grab possession of the match ball and net a memorable hat-trick, the Strabane man produced a very cheeky dink down the middle after Draper had committed himself for what was an unforgettable spotkick and a record European victory for the “Candy Stripes” and, possibly, a record win in European football for an Irish side in Europe, north or south of the border.
An excellent night and credit to the visitors who refused to take anything for granted.
ABERYSTWYTH TOWN - Draper; Morgan (C.Davies, 63), Cledan. Davies, S. Jones, Atyeo (James 86), Kellaway, Sherbon (R. Davies 86), Venables, Corbisiero, C. Williams; M. Jones.
DERRY CITY - Doherty; Jarvis, Byrne, McBride, Barry (Ventre, h/t); Timlin, Molloy (S. McEleney, 69), McNamee, Duffy; P McEleney (Lowry, 61); Patterson.
REF. - Mr. E. Nzolo (Belgium).