Derry City's Nathan Gartside wants FAI Cup glory

Goalkeeper Nathan Gartside says Derry City are aiming to go all the way and lift the FAI Cup because the players knows how much it would mean to the Candy Stripe supporters.

Monday, 26th July 2021, 3:47 pm
Updated Monday, 26th July 2021, 3:48 pm
Derry City’s Nathan Gartside kicks away Drogheda United’s Killian Phillips penalty, during Saturday’s FAI Cup shoot-out win at Head in the Game Park. Picture by Kevin Moore/MCI

The 23-year-old (right) played a major role in the Brandywell men’s first round win at Drogheda United on Saturday, saving James Clarke and Killian Phillips’ spot-kicks as Ruaidhri Higgins’ side secured a 4-2 penalty shoot-out.

“Look, we’re aiming to go the whole way. It would mean everything to the Derry people to get to the final and get a trophy,” he insisted.

“We are trying our best in every single game that comes along so, yes, today was just all about winning no matter how it happened. Now we have to just focus on the league and worry about Longford next.”

Gartside described the tie at the Head in the Game Park as a crazy game to play in, revealing he simply followed his instincts during the penalty shoot-out.

“That was 120 minutes of absolute carnage to be honest,” he added. “It was a rollercoaster of a game but you have got to keep your composure.

“As much as we went 1-0 down, we always believed and it obviously paid off at the end when we got our late, late equaliser.

“When it comes to penalties you just trust your instincts, pick a side and go for it. I always back myself in terms of penalty kicks because we work on them at training regularly, so whenever I was needed to make a save I was able to pull them out.

“Obviously leading up the game when we knew there was the possibility that penalties may happen as the game had to be finished on the day. Drogheda are a very good side as they have proven this season with tight games against them. Penalties were always a possibility so we worked on them at training.

“Going into the penalties the boys just needed to trust themselves in terms of their own ability to put the ball into the back of the net and then I can try to do the rest and that’s all that matters.

“You have your regular takers but ultimately, again, you must trust your instincts, try to psych out the player in front of you when he’s coming up to take the penalty. You slow the game up and try all the tricks of the day to be honest and ultimately it has went my way. It’s one of those things where I trusted my instincts and it has paid off.”

The former Northern Ireland U21 international who, despite not having much to do throughout the 120 minutes, made an important save when City were trailing 1-0, keeping out Darragh Markey’s effort but he praised his team-mates for never given up and finally being able to break down the nine men of Drogheda before showing good composure in the shoot-out

“There were a lot of nerves but credit to Drogheda, they hung on and, sat in front of us and tried to catch us on the counter-attack. It was hard for us to break them down, but I felt the boys held their composure well and thankfully we won,” he said. “In the penalties I felt the boys’ composure was also top notch and they put them away when needed.

“Look it’s your job (saving Markey’s shot) and ultimately you have to stay composed at all moments in the game, because you never know when you are going to be called into action. But 120 minutes is a good one for the concentration level, put it that way.”