DERRY City experienced their worst possible nightmare at the Sligo Showgrounds last night as Stephen Kenny watched in disbelief as three of his players were sent-off amid chaotic scenes.
ARTHUR DUFFY Reports
Add in the fact that the Brandywell side were on the end of a 3-0 defeat, two of those goals coming from the penalty spot, and Kenny does not have his sorrows to seek prior to a double blast of home games against UCD and Drogheda.
In a game which saw tempers flare after the break, the visitors were severely penalised by referee, Alan Kelly, for their indiscretions.
In fact, the Brandywell side can have no complaints. Ball watching and indiscipline costing them particularly dearly on an afternoon Derry will wish to forget quickly.
Tempers may have flared but, in fairness, it was never considered an overly-robust affair though it became clear that Derry were struggling to maintain their discipline and focus.
In total, Derry received eight yellow cards and three of the red variety – an astonishing statistic – and one can argue with very few of those cautions. For their part, Sligo players received four yellow cards and one red.
With the wind causing no shortage of problems for both sides, it was Sligo who coped better in the frist half but while Derry lived dangerously, their net remained intact at half-time.
However, three minutes into the second period, the visiting defence were caught ‘ball watching’ following a long punt upfield by Sligo keeper, Brendan Clarke.
However, when Rafael Cretaro raced in to meet the ball having controlled it on his chest, he burst into the penalty area before being brought down from behind by Eddie McCallion
With the referee immediately pointing to the spot, McCallion saw a straight red for the professional foul and Derry were in difficulty. Eoin Doyle drove the spotkick home as the “Candy Stripes” were forced to regroup.
But it got worse within minutes when Derry skipper, Kevin Deery, launched into an ill-timed challenge on Richie Ryan and as he had been booked in the 18th minute, Derry were reduced to nine men and defeat was inevitable.
With team boss, Stephen Kenny clearly furious outside the dugout with the loss of discipline, he was fully aware that his side faced an uphill task.
And as tempers continued to flare, Sligo then had a man sent off. Centre-half, Gavin Peers, was shown a second yellow card in as many minutes for a simulated dive following a challenge.
From that point onwards, Sligo were content to maintain possession testing the fitness levels of their visitors.
When one felt Derry had been punished enough, Sligo were awarded another penalty in the 77th minute when substitute, Davy McDaid, handled Blinkhorn’s cross.
Up stepped Doyle for a second time to drive the ball on the opposite side to his first strike to double his side’s lead.
Five minutes from the end, Sligo netted a third when substitute, Alan Kirby made it 3-0 when played in by Ryan. Just when it appeared things couldn’t get any worse for the visitors, Emmett Friars became the third ‘Candy Stripe’ to be ordered off by referee Alan Kelly when he picked up a second booking leaving Kenny facing a selection crisis ahead of the weekend fixtures.
SLIGO ROVERS – 4-4-1-1 - Clarke; Keane, Peers, McGuinnss, Davoren; Doyle, Ryan, Ventre (Kirby, 62), Cretaro (Green, 60); Ndo; Blinkhorn (Russell, 79).
DERRY CITY – 4-4-1-1 - Doherty; McCallion, S. McEleney, Friars, Lafferty; McLaughlin (McDaid, h/t), Deery, Higgins, McClean; P. McEleney (McBride, 52); Zayed (McCrudden, 81).
REFEREE – Mr. Alan Kelly (Cork).