DERRY CITY’S response to two poor results in recent games was emphatic at the Brandywell last night as a very poor Galway United were put to the sword.
ARTHUR DUFFY reports
And, if truth be told, the ‘Candy Stripes’ could have reached double figures as Stephen Kenny’s side issued a statement of intent when consolidating their current title as the league’s top scorers.
Normally considered slow starters, Derry City burst out of the Brandywell traps to race into a 2-0 lead by the time 21 minutes had elapsed, despite squandering just as many clear-cut chances.
For Eamon Zayed it will have been a memorable night when scoring no fewer that four of the six goals. In fact, he also could have increased his tally but for poor finishing in the second half.
Patrick McEleney broke the deadlock in the 7th minute. The lively Gareth McGlynn found the striker enjoying acres of space and having side-stepped one defender, he let fly with a dipping shot from 20 yards for what was a superb goal.
Relentless in their desire to get forward, Derry really should have doubled that lead with McGlynn (twice) and Ruaidhri Higgins unfortunate not to have scored.
In fact, even Stewart Greacen opted to join the attack in the 13th minute, the big Scot controlling a high ball with a deft touch. He found Patrick McEleney with a short pass and screamed for the return as he raced into the penalty area. But, unfortunately, that was as good as it got for the 29-year-old, his attempted scissors-kick basically bringing him back to reality.
However, the home side deservedly doubled their advantage in the 21st minute and it was another superb solo goal for McClean, his eighth of the season.
Having gained possession on the edge of the 18 yards line, the Creggan man skillfully weaved his magic leaving Galway defenders in his wake before drilling a low shot into the net, another magnificent goal.
To be fair, Galway keeper, Greg Fleming kept his side in the game with a superb double save in the 42nd minute when blocking McGlynn’s shot with his legs before the rebound was powerfully drove towards the net by Kevin Deery, Fleming produced a top drawer stop as he parried the ball wide of the target.
But Derry had the final say at the end of the first half with goal number three which arrived in the 44th minute albeit bringing a certain element of pain to scorer, Eamon Zayed.
Another McGlynn teasing centre across the six yards box appeared to be diverted to the net off the groin of the grimacing striker!
Derry maintained the momentum after the break and Zayed really should have doubled his tally on 50 minutes, the striker failing to get onto the end of Patrick McEleney’s accurate cross.
On 62 minutes, following a break from defence the same two Derry players combined with McEleney’s perfectly flighted cross driven wide by Zayed from close range.
In the 65th minute Galway were let off the hook again, McClean’s downward header following McGlynn’s cross, was blocked by Fleming’s feet before Kevin Deery smashed the rebound off the upright.
Zayed finally netted his second in the 73rd minute when substitute, Stephen McLaughlin provided the cross and the big striker powered the ball home with his first touch.
He then took responsibility when netting his hat-trick from the penalty spot after McClean had been upended by Galway skipper, Paul Sinnott.
And his fourth and Derry’s six was scored two minutes into injury time to send the Bank Holiday crowd home in a happy frame of mind.
Galway’s only scoring opportunities fell to Bobby Ryan on either side of half-time, the midfielder failing to find the net on each occasion such was Derry’s overall dominance.
Derry City – Doherty; Molloy, Greacen, S. McEleney (McBride, 80), Lafferty (McLaughliin, 69); McGlynn, Higgins, Deery, McClean; P. McEleney, Zayed.
Galway – Fleming; S. Kelly, Sinnott, Walsh, Keogh; De Silva, Ryan, G. Kelly, Moore; Curran, Gilmore.
Referee – Mr. Derek Tomney (Dublin).