Derry City boss Stephen Kenny said that he thought his side unlucky to lose their first game of the 2011 Premier Division season to Sligo Rovers at the Brandywell on Friday evening.
Speaking after the game, Kenny said that although he thought Sligo a good team he believe his team unfortunate not to have scored.
“I think it was a tight game and Sligo [Rovers] had us under pressure for periods. They were able to bring good players off the bench like Raffaele Cretaro and Aaron Greene, both of whom played for Bohemians last year.
“From our point of view, we had some decent chances too. We missed a penalty and Eamon Zayed had a good chance to score with a header earlier in the game as well.
“We created a few decent chances in the second half too. David McDaid went close with a few chances towards the end and Daniel Lafferty forced Brendan Clarke to make a great save when he shot from just inside his own area.
“You’ll not get too many chances against top teams like Sligo but I think we did enough tonight to warrant a goal; we created some decent chances.”
Kenny said that he also thought that his defenders played well and added that a share of the spoils would have been a more fair result.”
“I also thought that we defended well and the game ebbed and flowed; unfortunately we’ve just come out on the wrong side of a very tight match. Had the game finished a draw I don’t think there would have been too many complaints.
“Our first touch wasn’t what it should have been in the first half. Sligo were playing neat balls through the channel to Russell and Matthew Blinkhorn is always going to be a handful.”
Although disappointed to lose the game Kenny did manage to take some positives from team’s performance. He signalled out Brandywell debutante Stewart Greacen for praise but said that he still thinks that there’s room for improvement right across the team.
“Stewart Greacen did well on his debut and I think that both he and Shane McEleney looked strong. I think Shane [McEleney] and Daniel [Lafferty] started slowly but they finished the game strongly.
“I also think that we have to be positive because Sligo amongst the top two teams in the country and I think we did well against them. I think that they were better than us at the fundamental stuff like throw-ins and keeping possession but we did cause them problems but we didn’t take our chances. To concede a goal so late on is always going to be disappointing.”
Kenny went on to explain that in the minutes leading up to Aaron Green’s 88th minute strike he wanted to substitute Ruaidhri Higgins but after Patrick McEleney appeared to strain his calf he was left with no choice but to leave Higgins on the pitch a little longer.
“I was trying to get Ruaidhri Higgins off the pitch but Patrick McEleney said that he felt calf seizing up. Ruairi Harkin was going to go on for Higgins but we had to change it at the last minute and bring him on for Patrick. We then got Thomas McBride ready so that we could take Higgins off and that’s when the goal was scored. Higgins was struggling with his thigh and he couldn’t get back in time.
“In fairness to Sligo they finished their chance off well. I am not sure if he was trying to get the ball back across goal but it was some finish if he [Aaron Greene] meant it.”
Sligo Rovers are being tipped as one of the teams who will challenge for the title this year. Kenny refused to read too much into the defeat and said that his players will be concentrating on getting a result against UCD in the UCD Bowl next Friday.
“It’s early days but we have plenty of other matches to come. It’s disappointing to lose on the opening day of the season but we must do everything we can to bounce back against UCD next week. I watched UCD against Lisburn Distillery during the week and they impressed me. Although Lisburn won the game UCD had 90 per cent of the ball. Even though they’ve lost a few players I have no doubt that it will be a tough game down there in Belfield.”