High-flying Derry City have been enjoying the boost of another big-scoring victory while they prepare for the visit of Bray Wanderers to the Brandywell tomorrow afternoon (kick-off 3pm).
And they’ll be hoping that there are no April Fool’s Day surprises as they try to keep the pressure on runaway leaders Sligo Rovers at the top of the Premier table.
City are enjoying a great start to the season, with Friday night’s 4-0 win over Shelbourne at Brandywell making it four matches unbeaten since that 1-0 home defeat to Sligo Rovers on opening day.
Perhaps City were a little flattered by the Shels scoreline. Two of the goals came in the closing minutes and Shels had their own chances - and a penalty claim - earlier. City’s scores came from sharpshooter Patterson, an own goal from the unfortunate Crowley, and those late strikes from Rafter and substitute Griffin, who slotted home a penalty in added time.
At the same time Bray Wanderers were digging out a creditable 2-2 draw at home to UCD. They were leading 1-0 when they were reduced to 10 men at the end of the first half, former Derry City keeper Darren Quigley getting his marching orders. UCD went on to take a 2-1 lead but ten man Bray piled on the pressure towards the end and could have won it. Of course, UCD were hammered 6-0 by City a couple of weeks ago.
Bray have had a mixed start to the season. They’ve also played Shelbourne already, recording a 1-0 home win on opening day. Since then they’ve lost 3-0 away to Sligo, had a Cork City match postponed, and lost 2-1 to Drogheda United.
Derry City are playing impressively and are matching leaders Sligo Rovers on the goals front, with 12 scored and just two conceded in the five matches so far.
In terms of form between the two teams, City have a distinct edge. City and Bray met three times last year, with City winning two and the last game, back in August, ending up a score draw.
The Candy Stripes are looking an even more potent outfit in Declan Devine’s second season and will be hotly fancied to take all three points at home tomorrow. They’ll need to if they want to stay in touch with champions Sligo, who have already notched up five wins out of five, and have a televised game against lowly UCD tomorrow night.
Inside - Simon Collins’ report on another good night at the Brandywell, pages 46- 47