Derry City move into sixth spot after exacting revenge on Longford

Longford Town 0 Derry City 2

Saturday, 31st July 2021, 9:31 pm
Updated Saturday, 31st July 2021, 9:34 pm
Derry City players celebrate in Longford after Danny Lafferty put them ahead in the first half. Photograph by Kevin Moore.

DERRY CITY exacted revenge on bottom of the table Longford Town at Bishopsgate with a hard fought victory which moved them into sixth spot.

The Midlanders' only win so far this season was the opening day 2-0 victory over the Candy Stripes and despite a battling effort, Derry scored in either half to close to within two points of fifth placed Drogheda.

Danny Lafferty netted his second goal of the season in the 32nd minute with a clinical finish from a narrow angle.

And Junior Ogedi-Uzokwe made certain of the win with seven minutes to go as he finished a lovely move for Derry's 1,000th away goal in the League of Ireland.

Ruaidhri Higgins made two changes from the team which defeated Drogheda on penalties on their last outing with Jack Malone and penalty hero Evan McLaughlin replacing the suspended Ciaron Harkin and Will Fitzgerald respectively.

There was no place in the starting line-up for new recruit Bastien Hery or the returning Jamie McGonigle with both attack-minded players starting on the bench.

It was an opportunity for Derry to leapfrog Dundalk into sixth spot and close to within two points of fifth placed Drogheda.

Longford were badly in need of their first win since defeating Derry at Bishopsgate on the first game of the season on March 20th as they were cut nine points adrift at the bottom following Waterford's win over Drogheda.

And the Midlanders, in their changed strip, made an encouraging start to the match as they forced a smart save from Nathan Gartside straight from kick-off.

Dean Williams, on loan from Shamrock Rovers, broke dangerously down the right flank and cut the ball back into the path of Aaron McNally lurking on the edge of the six yard box but his first time strike was turned behind by Gartside for a corner.

James Akintunde's attempted cross into the box was deflected into the path of McLaughlin on the edge of the box but his strike with the outside of his left boot sailed just wide on 17 minutes.

Junior Ogedi-Uzokwe wasted a decent chance from a free-kick 25 yards from goal as he fired his effort against the wall and when the rebound fell to Danny Lafferty, the City wing-back dragged his shot wide.

It was a scrappy encounter but Derry broke the deadlock on 32 minutes after great work from Junior and Akintunde with the latter finding Lafferty with a neat through ball and the wingback rifled his shot into the far corner.

It was his second goal in two games and when Joe Thomson found him moments later with a searching cross from the right, Lafferty headed straight into the hands of Lee Stacey at the back post.

Derry were fortunate on 42 minutes when Rob Manley sent an inviting pass across the face of the goalmouth with two Longford players ready to pounce but Eoin Toal managed to clear it behind.

New signing Hery was introduced three minutes into the second half for his Derry City debut, replacing the injured Ronan Boyce.

Akintunde and Junior linked up nicely on the right side of the Longford penalty area with the latter finding Evan McLaughlin running into space just outside the 18 yard box but his first time effort went just wide of the post.

Derry badly needed a second goal against the league's draw specialists who drew 1-1 in four of their previous six league matches.

McLaughlin played an inch perfect pass into the feet of Akintunde who was in space 16 yards from the Longford goal after great work on the wing by Junior, but he delayed his shot allowing Aaron Robinson the chance to charge down the ball and put it behind.

Derry doubled their lead with seven minutes to go as Lafferty played the ball into the feet of Akintunde. The striker fed the ball through to Junior who ran in behind the Longford defence and slotted past the keeper for his second goal since his return to the club.

Substitute Matthew O'Brien came so close to pulling one back from a free-kick from 25 yards but his effort flashed wide on 87 minutes.

Longford huffed and puffed in the final moments of the game but Derry stood firm to clinch a first clean sheet on the road since May 21st.

Longford Town: L. Stacey; S. Elworthy (K. Chambers 13), J. Manley, A. O'Driscoll, P. Kirk (A. Dobbs 57); R. Manley (C. Warfield 74), A. Dervin, A. Robinson (M. O'Brien 74),A. McNally; D. Grimes, D. Williams; Subs Not Used - M. Kelly, M. McDowell, D. Zambra, A. McCabe, C. Davis.

Derry City: N. Gartside; E. Toal, C. McJannet, C. Coll; R. Boyce (B. Hery 48), J. Thomson, J. Malone, D. Lafferty; E. McLaughlin (D. Cole 76); J. Akintunde (J. McGonigle 85), J. Ogedi-Uzokwe: Subs Not Used - J. Lemoignan, W. Fitzgerald, J. McGonigle, M. McChrystal, P. Ferry, C. Porter, B. Barr.

Referee: John McLoughlin.