CONOR McDERMOTT won’t be a happy man should the FAI take away his first Derry City goal and credit Kyle Callan-McFadden with an ‘OG’ which ended a run of four straight defeats for the Candy Stripes.
The teenage right-back did brilliantly to burst forward, beat his man before his thunderous strike took a wicked deflection off the chest of the Sligo defender to wrong-foot Micheal Schlingermann and nestle into the net.
“I’m definitely claiming it, 100 per cent,” McDermott said afterwards. “My shot was going in so I’m definitely taking it,” he stressed again.
“It would be hard to take if they (FAI) took it away from me, especially having done so well to get up there.
“I got a few lucky bounces off the shin to get past the defender but I thought I took it well. The initial shot was going in and the boy’s just chested it into the net.”
Irrespective of how the ball found its way into the back of the net, or who is credited with the equalising strike, it was a much welcome rub of the green for City and it’ll be of little consequence to manager, Kenny Shiels.
Having fallen behind to a close range Kieran Sadlier strike on the half hour mark Derry showed great character to bounce back and level the game six minutes later.
And after enduring torrid times of late during a period where luck certainly has deserted Shiels’ troops, McDermott was delighted to witness a change in fortunes.
City needed that bit of fortune against the Bit O’Red to stop the rut and McDermott is hoping a fully deserved point at the Showgrounds can act as a catalyst for an improved run of results in the league.
“Kenny said before the game that even a deflection or a lucky goal would help get us back up and running and hopefully we can go on and get a run together and get back to the way we were before the recent run of losses. We’ll take the draw and move on to Tuesday’s game.
I got a few lucky bounces off the shin to get past the defender but I thought I took it well. The initial shot was going in and the boy’s just chested it into the net.Conor McDermott
“We started the season off like a house on fire and then hit a bit of a dip,” he added. “Hopefully now we can get back to winning ways and back to the sort of form we showed at the start of the season and last year when we were challenging.”
The point is something which can be built on but there remains plenty of building to do. The Derry players haven’t been overly concerned by the four game slump given that performances, apart from the 3-0 Cork City loss, have been encouraging.
A combination of missed chances and sloppy defending has been the club’s downfall in recent weeks. And while another clean sheet went begging in Sligo and the one shot on target yielded the equalising goal, there was plenty of positives during a game which may just draw a line under that worrying spell of games.
“The Cork game was probably our worst performance and they thoroughly deserved the win down there. But every other game I felt we’ve played really well. We just haven’t been taking our chances and have been punished at the other end. Tonight we got a bit of luck and hopefully we can take it onto the next game.”
While a draw was probably a fair outcome, Shiels felt his side could’ve perhaps taken more from the game but for their failure to test Schlingermann from promising chances.
The way in which they responded from that Sadlier goal was admirable. While they continue to look vulnerable at set-pieces, the decision to play Dean Jarvis alongside Aaron Barry at the heart of the defence could remedy recent concerns as the back four looked solid for most parts.
“I felt it suited us a lot better with Dean in there tonight, he’s got a bit more experience. To be fair to Scott (Whiteside), he’s done well but Dean has a bit more experience and it helps us younger boys, myself and Ben (Doherty) at full back.
“We told ourselves that if we did go 1-0 down we wouldn’t let the heads drop. And we replied very well. We went straight up the other end, penned them back and got on top.
“First half we were the better side. They came out in the second half and put it up to us again. But we’ll take a point and move on. It’s given us something to build on.”
With three home games on the bounce starting with Tuesday’s visit of Limerick, a first goal in four games and a first point on the board since the three won against Drogheda over a month ago, Derry can start looking up again!