A combination of defensive errors and Sligo Rovers’ clear superiority meant a poor away trip for Derry City at The Showgrounds last night as they fell 4-1 to the Airtricity League Premier Division leaders.
Sligo, who scored twice in each half, moved eight points clear at the top of the table while Derry, whose second-half goal from David McDaid was a mere consolation, at least have the FAI Ford Cup semi-finals to look forward to.
However, manager Declan Devine must be unhappy that a losing streak continues in the top flight. Given the strength of Sligo, their position at the top of the standings and their current healthy record against Derry, this season’s results included a 4-0 thumping in the EA Sports Cup quarter-final, Derry would have rightly anticipated a tough visit to their north-west rivals.
So it proved against Ian Baraclough’s side with two changes from the side that drew 0-0, defender Gavin Peers returned from suspension and Pascal Millien came into the home side’s attack.
Derry, meanwhile, made a number of changes to their starting 11. Ryan McBride and Simon Madden returned from suspension but injury ruled Barry Molloy out. The squad was also minus Owen Morrison, who was released by the club on Friday.
The home side took a 14th minute lead from a Ryan McBride own goal. After Pascal Millien’s mazy run ended with a corner for Sligo, the ball was bundled home after some fans believed was a Sligo touch but the final touch was that of Derry defender McBride.
Derry had also cause to regret the second goal as Stuart Greacen’s unconvincing clearance reached Rafael Cretaro – when it seemed that Doherty was well-placed to gather - and the Sligo forward guided the ball home despite the presence of the retreating Greacen.
Sligo made it 3-0 in the 56th minute. Cretaro was again the finisher after he managed to break free of McBride’s attempted tackle.
Derry netted a consolation after 69 minutes when David McDaid, the ex-Sligo player, placed a cool shot past Gary Rogers. The assist came from Ruaidhri Higgins, whose brilliant pass cut through the Sligo rearguard.
Any respite for Derry was brief as they conceded a fourth in the 76th minute. Lee Lynch latched onto a badly aimed Derry throw-in and he rifled a shot home despite Gerard Doherty getting a hand to the effort.
Derry, who were overwhelmed in all sectors, had some chances throughout but needed to score early to upset the side who are likely to lift the title.
Kevin Deery headed wide in the 16th minute and at the other end Gerard Doherty was becoming the busier of the two goalkeepers. Derry also picked up three bookings in the first-half as Ruaidhri Higgins, Kevin Deery and Ryan McBride all went into referee Paul Tuite’s notebook.
In the second period, aside from McDaid’s tasty finish, Derry’s best opportunity was a header from Mark Farren in the 61st minute. He directed the ball on target from Simon Madden’s cross but it was a comfortable save for Gary Rogers in the end.
Last night’s result is Derry fifth consecutive league defeat and with next weekend’s FAI Ford Cup semi-final with Shelbourne approaching quickly the Candy Stripes will have to improve quickly if they are to salvage anything from their already disconcerting season.
Sligo Rovers: Gary Rogers; Seamus Conneely, Jason McGuinness, Gavin Peers, Ross Gaynor, Pascal Millien, Lee Lynch (David Cawley 80), Joseph Ndo, Danny Ventre, Raffaele Cretaro (Ryan Connolly 80), Mark Quigley (Liam Buchanan 68)
Derry City: Gerard Doherty, Simon Madden, Stewart Greacen (Shane McEleney 74), Ryan McBride, Dermot McCaffrey, Patrick McEleney (Conor Murphy 64), Ruaidhri Higgins, Kevin Deery, Barry McNamee, David McDaid, Mark Farren
Referee: Paul Tuite
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Weather for Derry
Thursday 23 May 2013
Temperature: 6 C to 9 C
Wind Speed: 26 mph
Wind direction: North
Temperature: 5 C to 12 C
Wind Speed: 14 mph
Wind direction: North