Jamie McGonigle's stunning brace secures Derry City victory

Derry City 2, Sligo Rovers 0

Derry City's Jamie McGonigle races away celebrating the opening goal against Sligo Rovers. Picture by Kevin Moore/MCi
Derry City's Jamie McGonigle races away celebrating the opening goal against Sligo Rovers. Picture by Kevin Moore/MCi

Derry City finished their home campaign with a deserved victory over Sligo Rovers, thanks to Jamie McGonigle's outstanding brace.

The ex-Coleraine man, who scored the equaliser at Finn Harps last Friday night, helped himself to two stunning volleys in each half, as Ruaidhri Higgins' side produced a match winning performance, in front of a packed Ryan McBride Brandywell Stadium.

McGonigle, who continues to show glimpses of great form this season and his double showed why Higgins was so keen to sign him from Crusaders, he was also a threat all night and his two sublime volleys capped off his man of the match display.

The Brandywell men were forced into two changes from the side that drew at Ballybofey last week, with Cameron McJannet failing a late fitness test and Bastien Hery was away on international duty with Madagascar, meaning that Will Fitzgerald and McGonigle came into the starting line-up.

City, who were backed by the biggest crowd of the season, started on the front foot and they went close in the opening few minutes as Fitzgerald's right wing cross would have found Junior Ogedi-Uzokwe at the back post, but for some tremendous defending Lewis Banks, who managed to head the ball over his own crossbar.

On 12 minutes a teasing Danny Lafferty cross from the left caught out Rovers keeper Richard Brush, but Fitzgerald's close range header flew over the bar.

The deadlock was broke five minutes later in stunning fashion, as Joe Thomson raced into the Rovers box, before his clever flick inside found McGonigle and the Dungiven man's volleyed nestled into Brush's bottom left hand corner.

Derry City's Junior Ogedi-Uzokwe tussles with Sligo Rovers Lewis Banks. Picture by Kevin Moore/MCi

The Candy Stripes, who were playing in their black away kit, continued to press forward and were the better team in the opening half hour and with a bit more composure with their final pass they would have added a second as both McGonigle and Thomson in particular, were causing the visitors a host of problems.

Liam Buckley's side should have levelled things just after the half-hour mark when Mark Byrne's great run down the right, skipping away from both Lafferty and Ciaran Coll, before his low drive was well kept out by a diving Nathan Gartside.

Gartside was called into again on 42 minutes, this time he did superbly to keep out Garry Buckley's close range header, somehow parrying the ball away, after the big centre-back had met Regan Donelon's corner.

Derry should have scored a second deep into stoppage time in the first half, as McGonigle broke the offside trap, to race through on goal but his cool chip over Brush, which was goal bound, was cleared off the line by Banks.

Derry City's Ciaron Harkin and Will Fitzgerald (No 7) celebrate with Jamie McGonigle after his stunning second goal. Picture by Kevin Moore/mci

City went close to adding a second on 55 minutes as Fitzgerald's right wing cross into the Rovers six yard box found McGonigle at the near post, but his glancing header fizzed just past Brush's right hand post.

Brush was caught in no mans land just before the hour mark, but Buckley got back to turn McGonigle's shot around the post and from Fitzgerald's resulting left wing corner, the former Cliftonville keeper did well to keep out Eoin Toal's powerful shot at the back post.

McGonigle and Derry doubled their advantage on 75 minutes as Fitzgerald broke down the right, before his cross was blocked by Buckley, straight into the Dungiven man's path and he made no mistake volleying home high into the net from 20 yards.

Derry City: Nathan Gartside, Ronan Boyce, Eoin Toal, Ciaran Coll, Danny Lafferty; Ciaron Harkin, Joe Thomson, James Akintunde (Jack Malone 76); Will Fitzgerald (Evan McLaughlin 87), Jamie McGonigle, Junior Ogedi-Uzokwe.

Sligo Rovers: Richard Brush, Lewis Banks, Robbie McCourt (Regan Donelon 30), Niall Morahan, Ryan De Vries (Cillian Heaney 84), Walter Figueira, Mark Byrne, Adam McDonnell (Seamus Keogh 58), John Martin, Garry Buckley, Andre Wright (Romero Parkes 58).

Referee: Mr Derek Tomney (Dublin).