Derry City suffer loss at Drogheda United

Drogheda United 1, Derry City 0

Sunday, 24th October 2021, 9:16 pm
Updated Monday, 25th October 2021, 11:50 am
Derry City's Jamie McGonigle keeps his eye on the ball as he runs at the Drogheda United back-line. Picture by Kevin Moore/MCI

DERRY City suffered a set-back in their quest for European football for next season, as Drogheda United, secured a narrow victory, at a sun-soaked Head in the Game Park.

Ruaidhri Higgins' men, who despite having a lot of possession and having a few clear cut chances just didn’t test Drogs goalkeeper David Odumosu enough, after they fell a goal behind when Killian Phillips headed home just before the break.

The Brandywell men made one change to their side, which battled hard to secure a hard fought win last week over FAI Cup finalists St Patrick's Athletic, with James Akintunde replacing the suspended Danny Lafferty.

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As for the home side they kept faith with the same team which easily seen off bottom side Longford Town last weekend, as they aimed to move further away from the relegation play-off spot and close in on their opponents.

Derry went into the game knowing a victory would see them move above third placed Sligo Rovers and into that automatic European qualification place for next season.

The visitors, who had a large travelling support behind them, started on the front foot and they went close on eight minutes as Joe Thomson's right wing corner found Ronan Boyce at the near post, but his powerful header was blocked by Gary Deegan.

City had half chance on 21 minutes when Ciaran Coll's left wing centre into the Drogheda box was miss controlled by Akintunde and while the loose ball fell kindly to the Londoner, his shot on turn was well off target.

Derry City striker James Akintunde holds off Drogheda United midfielder Killian Phillips, during Sunday's clash, at Head in the Game Park. Picture by Kevin Moore/MCI

Minutes later a super passing move by the Brandywell men ended with Jamie McGonigle's flick finding Evan McLaughlin, who ghosted into the home side's penalty box, but his angled drive from the left hand side of the box, which had keeper Odumosu beaten, flew just wide.

The home side took the lead on 39 minutes, in what was their first attack, when Darragh Markey's right wing corner found an unmarked Mark Doyle, his close range header, which had City goalkeeper Nathan Gartside beaten, came back off the post and the alert Phillips was on hand to head home the loose ball.

Derry responded well to that Phillips goal and they went close to equalising minutes later but Thomson's powerful free-kick from the edge of the box, whistled just past Odumosu's right hand post.

The visitors made a change at the break with Jack Malone replacing Boyce, who picked up a knock during the first half.

A section of the large Derry City supporters, at Head in the Game Park. Picture by Kevin Moore/MCI

Phillips went close to scoring a second right at the start of the second half, but his close range strike was deflected over the bar by Eoin Toal.

With their tails up Tim Clancy's side continued on the front foot and they went close to adding a second on 48 minutes but Markey's well hit shot was parried away by Gartside.

On 51 minutes, Thomson's ball over the top released McGonigle, who had a glorious first touch to control the ball, but his tame side footed strike was comfortably gathered by Odumosu.

McGonigle had a half chance on 79 minutes as a clever flick on by Junior Ogedi-Uzokwe found the Dungiven man, but his snap-shot from the edge of the box never tested Odumosu and flashed wide.

Moments later Derry missed a glorious opportunity as Ciaran Coll's tremendous left wing cross found Junior, but the striker's diving header from close range, fizzed wide.

Derry missed a super chance to level things on 90 minutes as Thomson's in-swinging corner from the left found Toal, but the big centre-back couldn't keep his close range header down.

Right at the death United should have wrapped the points up when on the counter attack James Brown broke out from the back before finding substitute Ahu Obhakhan, but the striker's close range shot was saved by Gartside.

Drogheda United: David Odumosu, James Brown, Joe Redmond, Dan O'Reilly, Conor Kane (Kaleem Simon 66), Dane Massey, Killian Phillips, Gary Deegan, Darragh Markey (Luke Heeney 63), Mark Doyle, Chris Lyons (Jordan Adeyemo 58).

Derry City: Nathan Gartside, Ronan Boyce (Jack Malone HT), Eoin Toal, Cameron McJannet, Ciaran Coll Evan McLaughlin (Will Fitzgerald 53); Ciaron Harkin (Bastien Hery 53), Joe Thomson, James Akintunde (Mark Walsh 85); Jamie McGonigle, Junior Ogedi-Uzokwe.

Referee: Mr Paul McLaughlin (Donegal).