Derry City skipper Eoin Toal hopes the club's fortunes change against Shamrock Rovers
DERRY CITY captain Eoin Toal believes the Brandywell club has nothing to fear as they go searching for their first points of the season against champions Shamrock Rovers tonight.
The centre half hopes the team’s fortunes change after a run of three straight defeats has left them struggling at the foot of the table ahead of the visit of a Rovers team intent on extending an unbeaten league run which spans almost 19 months!
“Things just aren’t happening for us right now but it will come because we’re working harder and harder every day and the penny is going to drop very soon,” predicted Toal.
“We’re a young side as well and the young boys are just going to get better as the year goes on. On the flip side of that there’s enough experience there to get points on the board.
“We know that playing for Derry we’re expected to win games and nobody likes losing. We just haven’t had that bit of luck that maybe we need right now.
“The first three games were winnable games and we’ve come out with nothing.”
Defeat against Rovers tonight will equal Derry’s worst start since losing their opening four of the 2003 campaign, a season which ended in a relegation play-off victory over Finn Harps.
However, Toal, who was delighted to reach a personal milestone of 100 appearances for Derry in the 2-0 loss at St Patrick’s Athletic on Friday night, is confident the team are going in the right direction.
“I didn’t even know that was my 100th appearance but that’s obviously great to hear and it’s a nice personal achievement for myself. I love Derry and hopefully results turn very soon.”
Danny Lupano’s sending off in the first half of that defeat to the Saints left Derry with a mountain to climb but Toal felt they were in control of the match and hopes they can replicate that quickfire start and cut out the ‘silly mistakes’ against the Hoops at Brandywell tonight.
“I thought we started off really well and were working really hard for each other,” he said. “I thought we had the best chance in the first half with James (Akintunde) but he didn’t take it obviously.”
The Armagh man is hoping for the slice of luck that’s deserted them over the past couple of league matches when Rovers arrive intent on closing the gap on the leading pack.
The Candy Stripes were hoping for a significant reaction to their dismal start to the season at Richmond Park on Friday night but were hamstrung by the early sending off Danny Lupano.
For a third successive game the team was the architects of their own downfall but Toal hopes they’ve got the mistakes out of their system in time for two crunch home games against Rovers and Drogheda United this week.
“The sending off was silly and was our own downfall,” reflected the defender. “We’re just making stupid mistakes on the pitch that are costing us.
“We started off so quickly against St Pat’s and I thought as long as the game went on we would get more chances. But obviously it was a different game altogether when the sending off happens, it changes the whole complexion of the game.
“We just had to dig in and I thought we did that really well until obviously the first goal went in.”
Robbie Benson’s breakthrough goal on 60 minutes had an element of luck about it as the ball broke kindly to the midfielder after Ronan Coughlan ran into a wall of defenders inside the City penalty area.
“That was really unlucky. It kept bouncing and bouncing and then went in. The sending off and then the ball just didn’t break for us for the goal. We were 1-0 down and down to 10 men and just couldn’t get out of our half. All the boys dug in but that game’s over now. We have Shamrock Rovers now which is going to be another tough game.
“Hopefully the luck turns for us. I really felt we started well against St Pat’s. If we can start against Rovers the way we started on Friday night then we should give it a good go. The big games, we have nothing to fear. We just have to go out there and play the way we played against St Pat’s for the opening 30 minutes. We’ll give it a good go anyway.”