KENNY SHIELS described Shamrock Rovers’ late equaliser at Brandywell as ‘soul destroying’ as the Hoops tightened their grip on the third European spot.
Derry City were firmly in the driving seat and looked destined to climb back above Rovers into third after Ronan Curtis’ quickfire brace in the first half.
However, Derry allowed Rovers back in the game just before the interval as the Dubliner intercepted a loose pass and Gary McCabe eventually reduced the deficit with a clinical finish.
And while Gerard Doherty pulled off a terrific save from a David Webster header and Gary Shaw somehow screwed a shot from close range wide, Derry had bossed the second half.
And so when Stephen McPhail found the net through a body of players from a free-kick wide on the right side of the box, Derry boss, Shiels was cursing his luck.
It certainly felt like a defeat for the Derry boss as Rovers remain in pole position in the fight for third.
You can’t say they showed character to get back into it. They didn’t show any character. They humped it up to two big giants, so there was no strategy to their game.Kenny Shiels
“It’s unbelievable,” said Shiels. “We dominated the game but what can you do? It’s soul-destroying, we’ve had so much bad luck.
“But we can’t let it effect the way we think. We’ve got to be positive in what we do. We’ll take the bad luck because the good luck must be around the corner - it’s got to be!
“It’s incredible,” he continued. “Rovers weren’t at the races. They weren’t in the game and we end up dropping two points.
“You can’t say they showed character to get back into it. They didn’t show any character. They humped it up to two big giants, so there was no strategy to their game.
“I don’t want to be too sore on Shamrock Rovers. I’m sure they work hard in what they do, but they didn’t have a strategic plan to get back in the game.
“Our young players will learn from this hopefully.”
With four games left in the league, Shiels hasn’t given up hope of finishing in third with both sides having very similar run-ins.
“They have to go to Bohs and Longford and are at home to Bray and Dundalk so who knows what will happen?” added a frustrated Shiels.