Derry City manager Declan Devine said that the yellow cards dealt out to his players against Sligo Rovers at the Brandywell on Friday was evidence to support his belief that his team are being unfairly treated by referees.
Derry lost 2-1 to the league leaders but it could be argued that Ian Baraclough’s men were lucky to finish the game with 11 players on the field.
“I am glad that television cameras were here tonight because we had a few players booked for absolutely nothing.
“Ruaidhri Higgins was emptied towards the end of the first half and how that challenge was the equivalent to some of the ones we were cautioned for I do not know.
“One of their [Sligo Rovers] players dived early in the game. We have had two players sent off for diving this season yet their player didn’t even get booked.We are getting harshly treated.
“I had a look at our bookings during the week because some people were questioning our discipline. Out of 40 bookings, six were for dissent - it’s not that bad. How people can justify that we are a physical side I just don’t know.
“But the reality is that the referee didn’t lose the game tonight, we gave away two poor goals and were punished.”
Sligo took the lead when a goalkeeping error by Gerard Doherty allowed David Cawley’s long range effort to cross the line but the Candy Stripes equalised when Conor Murphy played in David McDaid who chipped the ball over Gary Rogers’ head. However, Sligo snatched all three points when Mark Quigley netted from inside the area in the 85th minute.
“I don’t think Sligo hurt us that much and I thought that we were in the game for the majority of the time. I think the first goal we gave away was a very soft goal. We spoke earlier this week about how good Sligo are on the counter-attack and when they scored their first goal it was the first time that we left ourselves open at the back. But to be fair to Sligo they punished our bad defending.
“But I thought the players were terrific in the way they came back from that. They showed tremendous character and we scored a fantastic goal. It was great play, great movement and a great pass from Conor Murphy and a great finish from David McDaid.
“To be totally honest we ran out of legs after that. We had a few boys out there tonight who hadn’t trained in weeks never mind days.”
Friday’s game was 19 year-old Conor Murphy’s debut for Derry and Devine was full of praise for the teenage winger afterwards.
“Conor’s only 19 years-old. He has loads of ability and he’s a player that I have admired for a few years since he was with Bray Wanderers. He’s set himself up well and as a minimum I want players to work hard when they play for this club and I feel that Conor did that tonight. Conor played up front on his own with a bit of support from Owen Morrison and the two wide players. He put their two centre backs under pressure and dropped into a little pocket to play that great pass for David McDaid to score. I think Conor has the potential to do very well here.”