Greg Sloggett felt he was unfairly penalised for Shamrock Rovers penalty

Greg Sloggett battles for the ball with Shamrock Rovers midfielder, Jack Byrne.
Greg Sloggett battles for the ball with Shamrock Rovers midfielder, Jack Byrne.

GREG SLOGGETT felt he was unfairly penalised for Shamrock Rovers penalty but admitted Derry City lacked their usual character to claw their way back into the contest.

The midfielder was adjudged to have brought Rovers' dangerman, Jack Byrne to the ground as he held him off inside the penalty area when Aaron Greene cut the ball back into his path just after the hour mark.

It was the first time Rovers had got in behind the Derry defence on the night but Sloggett was adamant that it was the wrong decision by match referee, Robert Hennessy who immediately pointed to the spot once the Ireland international fell to the ground.

"I thought we were well in the game at that stage," said Sloggett. "It was a game of two penalties in the end. We were hard done by with the first 'pen' in my opinion and I was the man who was given the foul against. I thought it was soft but the referee has made his decision and we get on with it.

"I thought we fought back and Alan Mannus has made a good save for our 'peno' and that's given them a good foothold in the game. Unfortunately we didn't show the character we usually have to get back from that."

While Rovers dominated the ball for most of the contest, Derry restricted them to playing deep inside their own half until Aaron Green got in behind Ciaran Coll for the move which led to the opening penalty which was clinically dispatched by Aaron McEneff.

The Hoops boast an enviable midfield with Ireland internationals, Graham Burke and Byrne joining the likes of Ronan Finn, McEneff and the energetic and extremely effective Greg Bolger flooding the middle of the park.

It was an intriguing battle as Ciaron Harkin, Sloggett, Barry McNamee and Gerardo Bruna did their utmost to thwart them in the final third and the ex-UCD man believes they had done a decent job up until Rovers' breakthrough.

"We're disappointed not to come away with something from the game but all you can do is look ahead to the next one. I think we stopped them from playing through us. They played a lot of midfielders and there was a lot of rotation in the middle of the park. We forced them around the back and wide and were quite happy.

"We went chasing them when we missed the penalty and got sucker punched for the second goal.

"It's good to pitch yourself against some of the best midfielders in the country but we held our own for large periods of the game. In the second half it became a bit end to end and then you had the two penalties and it just got out of our grasp unfortunately."

Having played the Dubliners four times in the league this season, Derry have lost twice at Brandywell (0-1 and 0-2), and drawn once and lost once in Tallaght (2-0 and 2-2) and Sloggett believes Derry maybe lack a bit of experience when coming up against the best teams in the country.

"Ultimately we will look back on our performances and can say we definitely matched them and played some better games. Maybe we just didn't have that clinical edge or experience to put the game to bed.

"Maybe tonight they showed that bit of togetherness they might have over us in their three or four years together whereas we're a new kind of group. That's the way it goes. We're disappointed and that's not the record we want to have against the top sides in the league.

"We can only look forward to the next game and look to put things right."

In terms of the battle for Europe with Bohemians, Sloggett reckons it will still go right down to the final game of the season.

"It's going to go to the wire," he predicted. "We're disappointed we didn't get something from the game tonight though. Bohs are a good side and will push us all the way but we will push right back."