Derry City manager, Declan Devine, was left dumbfounded after his team failed to score a goal against Cork City at the Brandywell on Friday.
Devine’s men owed a lot of their creativity on the night to full-back Simon Madden but despite conjuring up chance after chance, the Candy Stripes couldn’t find a way past Cork ‘keeper Mark McNulty.
“I thought we played very, very well,” said Devine after the game.
“We created a lot of chances without really testing their goalkeeper and they [Cork City] defended with their lives.
“We had five or six shots blocked from short distances from goal and we put a lot of quality crosses into the box but we didn’t attack the crosses the way that we should have.
“We had a lot of possession and played some fantastic football but that’s only a part of the game if you don’t score goals.
“The reality is, we defended really well and a lapse in concentration led to their goal.”
Devine’s disappointment with the result was made worse when centre-back Ryan McBride was sent off in the dying minutes of the game.
Devine said he thought referee Paul McLaughlin’s decision to send McBride off was the wrong one and added that the player’s inevitable suspension was a problem that he would have preferred to have avoided.
“I thought it was really harsh and it was something that I didn’t need to be honest.
“Every manager wants their centre-half to be aggressive and win the ball and I felt that Ryan won the ball - the Cork player didn’t help matters by rolling all over the place, funny enough he was able to get up very quickly.”
Cork’s goal came in the second half when a Danny Murphy corner was headed back across goal by Kevin Murray and Garry Buckley connected the slightest of touches with his head to put it in the back of the net.
Devine said that he was aware of the threat Tommy Dunne’s men posed from such set-pieces which made conceding the goal all the more hard to accept.
“We knew they were a major threat from set-pieces. We knew they had a height advantage over us but because of a bit of inexperience we have been punished.”
Derry take on Drogheda United in Hunky Dory’s Park tomorrow (Monday) and Devine said that he plans on making several changes to the squad.
“I emphasise that there will be a lot of changes,” said Devine. “Ryan McBride will be suspended and Stephen McLaughlin is carrying an injury so I would envisage a very young side going to Drogheda on Monday,” he said.