O’Diochan’s clinched the Derry & District F.A. First Division title in dramatic fashion on Sunday morning at Brandywell Stadium, the Chamberlain Street based team netting a last minute equaliser against title rivals Phoenix.
Only one point separated the two sides going into Sunday’s decider, therefore, a draw was enough for O’Diochan’s to secure the trophy on the day.
It was a terrific game, worthy of deciding the winners of this season’s league title. O’Diochan’s controlled the majority of possession in the opening period but couldn’t find a way through a well organised Phoenix side who looked dangerous on the break.
Midway through the first half Phoenix took the lead from Dylan McDermott’s corner as Gareth Doherty found the net to put his side in the driving seat.
At this stage Phoenix were creating the best chances with McDermott, Healey and Coyle linking up well and they were presented with chances to extend their lead, however, they failed to take advantage.
Just before the break O’Diochan’s were awarded a penalty and McGuinness’ spot-kick was brilliantly saved by Gary Soal. The second half was another close affair and O’Diochan’s got back on level terms when they were awarded another penalty, this time PJ Ward stepped up and made no mistake.
Soon afterwards Phoenix got back in front when Emmett Coyle, who caused O’Diochan’s problems all day, broke from the halfway line and rounded keeper, McCrudden to make it 2-1.
For the final 15 minutes O’Diochan’s threw everything at Phoenix, however, Bosco Henry and company defended bravely throughout and it seemed as if they were going to hold on for the three points and the league title.
However, there was a final twist in added time when O’Diochan’s were awarded a controversial corner. From the set-piece O’Diochan’s scrambled the ball home to secure a point and the championship.
Both teams were the stand out sides in the division this year and it was an excellent game to end the 2014/15 league campaign.