I told several fans before our game against Galway United on Friday night that it would be very difficult and we would have to score first and possibly early to win it.
I based my logic on what it would have taken out of the team both physically and mentally to achieve that superb victory at Tallaght only a few days previously.
Make no mistake about it, manager Kenny Shiels and his backroom staff will also have known these facts and will have worked all week to keep the adrenaline high among the playing ranks, but it is a very difficult ask.
Given all that, it didn’t surprise me that Derry lacked sharpness in the first half or that the scoreboard remained blank after the first 45 minutes.
In the second half, the home side totally dominated but even so, clear cut chances remained at a premium. The Galway keeper was lucky on several occasions but at the same time he didn’t have to make any outstanding saves to keep his team in the game.
On the balance of play, only one team deserved to win it and that was Derry but despite totally bossing possession, the home side rarely stretched the visitors’ defence. Still, this will be looked at as two points dropped rather than one gained but no one could fault the workrate of the ‘Candy Stripes’.
All that was lacking was that little bit of sharpness or magic.
On a separate note, it is absolutely incredible that Derry have lost their three first choice centre-halves and it is to the credit of Kenny Shiels and his players that, not only have they coped with the problem, but they have maintained their unexpectedly high league position.
Also add in the fact that we lost one of our most experienced players, Gareth McGlynn, early in the season through injury and the excellent results so far with such a small squad must be applauded.
Even managers at the top level in football with huge squads would struggle to cope with this type of injury list. Let’s hope we see some of those on the injury list back before season’s end to keep our push for Europe going.