MARK Griffin believes Derry City would have opened their 2013 Airtricty Premier Division campaign with victory against the league champions, Sligo Rovers on Friday night, had he converted his gilt-edged chance in the second half.
SIMON COLLINS reports
The striker, who made his first start for the ‘Candy Stripes’ against the ‘Bit O’Red,’ got the nod ahead of his former Dundalk teammate, Michael Rafter to partner Rory Patterson in attack.
He held the view that his chance would not only have salvaged a share of the spoils but with Derry on the front foot at that stage, he believed the “Candy Stripes” would have gone on to win the game!
Ruaidhri Higgins sent Griffin scampering clear of the Sligo defence with a sublimely executed pass and the striker attempted to steer the ball around the advancing goalkeeper but failed to find the net.
Admitting that he should have ‘dinked’ the ball over the head of Gary Rogers, Griffin was disappointed that he didn’t get his goal tally off the mark on the night.
“We could have scored a couple of times but I missed a great chance,” he lamented. “The ball came through to me, it was a great pass from Ruaidhri and I took a touch but then hit it with the outside of my foot when I should’ve dinked it over the keeper.
“If I had of scored that then I think we would’ve pushed on and won the game.
“We had the momentum and Sligo were on the backfoot. I don’t remember them having much success in the final third apart from the one which hit the crossbar which was a long range strike.”
Plenty of Positives
Far from being despondent, Griffin, who was replaced by Ryan Curran on 82 minutes, believes the team can take plenty of positives from Friday night’s performance, considering the notable absentees which included captain, Kevin Deery and influential centre-half, Stewart Greacen.
“I enjoyed the game but it was tough work,” he continued.
“Sligo held onto the ball well. We are missing a couple of key players at the moment like Kevin Deery, Stewart Greacen, Sean Houston and Paddy Kavanagh. I think they would all play in our team every week, but we still gave a good account of ourselves and had Sligo on the backfoot for most the second half.
“There’s a lot of positives we can take from our performance. The league’s obviously the main goal this year so we want to push on and challenge for the title. I think we were just unlucky against Sligo.”
Griffin accepts Declan Devine’s rotation policy when it comes to his attacking options and he’s prepared to battle for his place in the starting line-up this season.
“Rory (Patterson), Michael (Rafter) and myself have the same thinking,” he insisted. “We all have to play well and if you get your chance you have to take it. I was really hoping to score a goal against Sligo on my first start but, unfortunately, that didn’t materialise.”