Derry City 2
(after extra-time, Crusaders won 5-4 on penalties)
Derry City experienced the agonising side of football last night when they lost a sudden death penalty shootout to Crusaders at the Oval.
Derry player Owen Morrison and Dermot McCaffrey both missed from the spot before Crusaders player Gareth McKeown stepped up to score the decisive spot-kick.
Derry took the lead in the 80th minute through Rory Patterson but parity was restored six minutes later when Crusaders captain Colin Coates headed the ball past Gerard Doherty. Despite being reduced to ten men before the end of the 90 minutes, Crusaders went on to take a 2-1 lead through Coates again in extra-time.
Derry ensured the game would be decided by a penalty shootout when Rory Patterson equalised from the penalty spot in the 102nd minute, but Crusaders held their nerve in an exciting penalty shoot-out to take the cup.
Derry City assistant manager Paul Hegarty said immediately after the match that he felt Crusaders were worthy winners and had the better of the game, with City not performing to their ability. But after a fairly dull first half both teams played their part in creating a memorable final which ended in dramatic fashion.
Crusaders looked much the brighter from the start and striker Timmy Adamson had a fantastic chance to put the Belfast team ahead in the fourth minute.
Adamson linked up well with team-mate David Rainey inside the area after a short throw-in on the right. Adamson hesitated with his shot but when he eventually fired towards goal Gerard Doherty reacted brilliantly to save with his feet from virtually point blank range.
Crusaders went even closer in the tenth minute when Chris Morrow rattled the post with a free-kick 25 yards from goal. Doherty was scrambling to reach the ball as it was put to his right and it wasn’t clear whether the Derry shot-stopper managed to get a hand to the ball.
For City David McDaid looked set to take advantage of a goalmouth scramble in the 16th but he just couldn’t connect with the ball inside the six yard box.
The ball fell to Crusaders’ David Rainey just outside the Derry area in the 19th minute but his attempt at the volley was ambitious to say the least and his shot went over the crossbar.
Stephen McLaughlin attempted to test Crusaders’ goalkeeper Sean O’Neill in the 28th minute but his left foot effort went well wide of the post.
As the game moved on Derry started to settle and their passing was certainly improving. There were a few instances of decent link-up play between Ruaidhri Higgins and Patrick McEleney but the Candy Stripes just couldn’t get their efforts on target.
David McDaid attempted an audacious long range shot in the 29th minute but his 30 yard drive sailed over the bar.
Much to the displeasure of Derry City captain Barry Molloy, Shane McEleney was caught in possession by David Rainey in the 33rd minute. Rainey challenged McEleney with a sliding tackle to win the ball, and with McEleney in no man’s land Rainey surged towards goal but he panicked and fired the ball well wide of Doherty’s goal.
Derry came more into it as the interval approached, and in the 41st minute when Barry Molloy, Ruaidhri Higgins, Rory Patterson and David McDaid linked up remarkably well with some fantastic one touch football. Despite the best efforts of McDaid his long range effort went over the bar.
Declan Devine’s team finished the half the stronger of the two teams and their one touch passing seemed to be carving out openings. But if they were to break the deadlock they would have to start finding the target more frequently.
After the break, City draw first blood when Rory Patterson connected well with a Patrick McEleney free-kick in the 46th minute only to see his header come off the top of the crossbar.
Derry once again had goalkeeper Gerard Doherty to thank when he palmed away a powerful volley from point blank range from Chris Morrow in the 48th minute. It was a remarkable save from Doherty as he only had his instincts to depend on.
Next a loose ball fell to David Rainey inside the City area but his effort went over the bar.
Crusaders’ Aidan Watson found Rainey with a fantastic pass over the top of the Derry defence. Fortunately for Derry, Rainey was forced wide and his shot was easily smothered by Gerard Doherty.
Crusaders should have taken the lead in the 60th minute when Stuart Dallas sent a corner into the Derry area from the right. Timmy Adamson sprinted into the box and arrived at just the right time but his powerful header was denied by the crossbar.
The game was really developing as a spectacle, with chances at both ends.
Derry winger Stephen McLaughlin went close to scoring in the 62nd minute when, after good work from David McDaid inside the area, he fired wide from eight yards out. Then in the 72nd minute Crusaders’ Timmy Adamson attempted to catch Gerard Doherty out a delicate chip towards the back post from 20 yards out but fortunately for the Candy Stripes it curled wide.
The busy David Rainey forced Gerard Doherty into making yet another top-class save in the 76th minute. Rainey swerved his way into space before unleashing a deft shot towards goal but Doherty reacted brilliantly to tip the ball over the crossbar.
Derry finally took the lead - against the run of play - in the 80th minute when Rory Patterson found the back of the net with an amazing finish from inside the area. Dermot McCaffrey crossed the ball from the left to the feet of second half substitute Owen Morrison. Morrison’s experience showed when he twisted and then slotted the ball to Patterson on his right. It was a tight angle but Patterson was perfectly poised and smashed the ball past O’Neill into the far corner of the net.
Crusaders deservedly equalised in the 86th minute when Stuart Dallas crossed from the right into the Derry area. Captain Colin Coates arrived at the back post to send a powerful header into the Derry net. Derry City players surrounded referee Raymond Crangle pointing to where goalkeeper Gerard Doherty was left in a heap, claiming he’d been impeded by Crusaders’ player David Rainey, but the goal stood.
Crusaders had a chance to win the game in the 87th minute but Rainey put his close range effort wide of the post. Crusaders finished the 90 minutes with ten men when full-back Stephen McBride received a second yellow card for a bad late tackle on Simon Madden.
So extra-time, with City looking to have the advantage. Both teams were clearly suffering as the game wore on, but there was still plenty of incident.
Declan Caddell outpaced City’s Ruaidhri Higgins in the 95th minute but luckily for Derry his effort went wide. However a minute later ten-man Crusaders took the lead after dangerman Coates got his head to a corner taken by Dallas. His effort was blocked but the big Crues’ defender got a second bite of the cherry and poked the ball past Doherty with his right foot from close range.
It didn’t look good for Derry, but the drama wasn’t over yet. Patterson’s shot from inside the Crusaders’ penalty area came off the hand of Paul Leeman and the referee pointed to the spot. Rory Patterson just about slotted the ball home to O’Neill’s left.
Patrick McEleney forced a great save from O’Neill in 111th minute when he shot from outside the box. O’Neill reacted brilliantly to acrobatically deny the 19 year-old what would have surely been the winning goal.
Extra time finished 2-2 and the game went to penalties, which again saw the teams deadlocked at 4-4 after the first five. Then came the final bit of drama - Dermot McCaffrey saw his effort saved by O’Neill and substitute Gareth McKeown stepped up to covert the decisive spot-kick to give Crusaders the Setanta Cup for the first time. Despite their best efforts, City’s turn will have to wait.
DERRY CITY: Gerard Doherty; Dermot McCaffrey, Simon Madden, Eddie McCallion, Ryan McBride (106 mins); Ruaidhri Higgins, Barry Molloy, Stephen McLaughlin (Owen Morrison 62 mins), Patrick McEleney; Rory Patterson, David McDaid.
Subs not used: Eugene Ferry, Matthew Crossan, Brian McGroary, Michael Barr, Ryan Curran.
Penalties: Scored - Patterson, Higgins, Molloy, McEleney. Missed: Morrison, McCaffrey.
CRUSADERS: Sean O’Neill; Stephen McBride, David Magowan, Colin Coates; Paul Leeman; Declan Caddell (Ciaran Gargan 112 mins), Chris Morrow, Stuart Dallas, Aidan Watson; Timmy Adamson (Gareth McKeown 90 mins), David Rainey (Matthew Snoddy 98 mins).
Subs not used: Ryan McCann, Ciaran Gargan, Michael Halliday, David McMaster, David Gibson.
Penalties: Scored – Coates, Morrow, Snoddy, Dallas, McKeown. Missed: Gargan.
REFEREE: Mr. Raymond Crangle (Belfast).