Jordan McEneff on the double as Derry City romp to victory at UCD
UCD 0 Derry City 4
JORDAN McEneff continued his impressive start to the season as he netted a first half brace to send Derry City on their way to a comfortable victory over bottom of the table UCD at the Belfield.
It was a professional job by a much changed City side who have taken six points from two trips to Dublin in 72 hours, following up on that terrific 2-1 win over champions Shamrock Rovers in Tallaght last Friday night.
In truth the Candy Stripes didn’t need to get out of second gear to make it three wins from their opening four league outings and maintain their place on the summit of the SSE Airtricity League table on 10 points.
Having returned to the starting line-up for this one, the in-form McEneff lit up the Belfield after a dreary start to the game with a stunning strike on 15 minutes as he wrapped his right foot around the ball and caressed it into the top corner.
The ex-Arsenal man then added a second three minutes before the break when he raced onto Brandon Kavanagh’s perfectly hit throughball, rounded the keeper and slotted into the empty net for his fourth goal in four games.
There was no way back after that for the Students and within 60 seconds of coming off the bench on 64 minutes Ollie O’Neill added a third thanks to a mistake from UCD keeper Lorcan Healy who allwoed the ball to slip through his hands and the Fulham loanee gleefully picked up the pieces before firing into the net from close range.
With 15 minutes to go stand-in skipper Will Patching’s free-kick took a wicked deflection off substitute Evan Osam and found its way into the bottom corner to seal a comprehensive win for the Foylesiders who were led by assistant boss Alan Reynolds in the absence of Ruaidhri Higgins who was attending his late brother Kevin’s funeral.
Derry had made four changes from the team which battled to a 2-1 win in Tallaght with Ronan Boyce and Brandon Kavanagh coming in for their first starts of the season while McEneff returned to the starting line-up as Cian Kavanagh made his first league start of the campaign. Jamie McGonigle, Ciaran Coll, Patrick McEleney and Ollie O'Neill all dropped to a strong looking substitutes' bench.
UCD Andy Myler made just two changes from the team which lost 4-0 to Cork City on Friday night with Jesse Dempsey and Daniel Norris coming in for Michael Gallagher and Danú Kinsella Bishop.
It was a scrappy opening but Derry hit the front on 15 minutes and it was a stunning strike from McEneff. The former Arsenal man sent Graydon into space on the left wing and when the winger's shot from an angle was saved by the feet of the UCD keeper, the rebound came to McEneff on the edge of the area and he curled his shot beautifully into the top corner for his third goal of the season.
McEneff added a second three minutes before half-time when he raced onto Brandon Kavanagh's superb through ball before taking a deft touch to take it past the outrushing keeper and slotting into the empty net.
UCD were growing in confidence at the start of the second half as Derry surrendered possession. However it was the Candy Stripes who fashioned the best chance of the half on the hour mark as Boyce whipped in a cross from the right and when McEneff’s snap shot was blocked, Cian Kavanagh followed up but blasted over the bar from 10 yards.
Derry sub, O’Neill made an instant impact when replacing Cian Kavanagh on 63 minutes as he had the ball in the back of the net for his first goal for the club 60 seconds later. Ben Doherty launched a long ball up the left wing and O’Neill gave chase. The Londoner showed a great turn of pace to get past O’Brien and when Healy came to gather the ball at his feet, the UCD keeper allowed the ball to slip under his hands and O’Neill accepted the invitation to take the ball and fire it into the empty net from close range.
Derry added a fourth on 75 minutes when Patching’s free-kick deflected off the wall and then took a wicked touch off the outstretched foot of Osam before finding the bottom corner of the net.
Diallo gave away possession with a sloppy pass in midfield straight to the feet of UCD sub Izekor who took a touch before forcing a comfortable save from Brian Maher but Derry saw out the match with ease to take back another three points from the capital.
It was a professional display from the visitors whose fine start to the new campaign continues. Higgins will be back in the dugout for the visit of his former club Dundalk to Brandywell on Friday night were a much bigger test awaits.
UCD: Lorcan Healy; Harvey O’Brien (Evan Osam 65), Jesse Dempsey (Adam Wells 65), Jack Keany, Mark Dignam; Alex Nolan (Danu Kinsella Bishop 72), Dara Keane (Divine Izekor 72), Brendan Barr, Donal Higgins; Ciaran Behan, Daniel Norris (Harvey O’Connor 81)
Derry City: Brian Maher; Ben Doherty, Shane McEleney, Mark Connolly (Ciaran Coll 70), Ronan Boyce; Brandon Kavanagh (Jamie McGonigle 63), Sadou Diallo, Wiliam Patching (Evan Mcaughlin 77), Jordan McEneff, Ryan Graydon (Matthew James Ward 70); Cian Kavanagh (Ollie O’Neill 63)
Referee: David Dunne