Michael Duffy on the double as in-form Derry City put UCD to the sword

Derry City 4UCD 1

MICHAEL Duffy was on the double for Derry City as the in-form Candystripes put basement side UCD to the sword at Brandywell to move back on top of the table.

Ruaidhri Higgins troops have registered six wins from seven, scoring 14 goals during that run and banked nine points from a possible nine over a hugely successful seven day period as Shamrock Rovers relinquished their advantage on the summit following a shock home loss to Drogheda.

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Jordan McEneff continued his rich vein of form with the opening goal on 13 minutes when he headed in Duffy's cross from close range.

The former Arsenal man took his season's tally to six goals after just nine starts but he could've had more and struck the post during a one-sided first half.

Will Patching sent Duffy in behind the Students defence five minutes into the second half with a neat back-heel and the winger made no mistake with his finish.

Duffy completed his brace 15 minutes later when he got onto the end of Brandon Kavanagh's pass and neatly lobbed it over the head of Kian Moore.

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UCD defender Adam Wells pulled one back for the visitors on 75 minutes from close range but City sub, Matty Ward completed the rout with his first goal for the club on 84 minutes.

Michael Duffy celebrates the first of two goals against UCD. Photograph by Kevin Moore.Michael Duffy celebrates the first of two goals against UCD. Photograph by Kevin Moore.
Michael Duffy celebrates the first of two goals against UCD. Photograph by Kevin Moore.

Derry were gunning for nine points from a possible nine as they lined out for their third league match in seven days.

Ruaidhri Higgins freshened his team up with four changes from the team which won 3-0 against Dundalk on Foyleside on Monday night.

Cameron Dumigan was handed his first start of season while Jamie McGonigle Ciaran Coll and Will Patching returned. Shane McEleney, Adam O'Reilly, Cian Kavanagh and Sadou Diallo dropped to the bench.

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McGonigle, starting his first game since the 2-0 loss to Shamrock Rovers at Brandywell on May 1st, tested Kian Moore with a low strike from inside the penalty area before Michael Duffy volleyed over the bar during the opening 90 seconds.

Dummigan sliced one high over the bar before McEneff curled a decent effort with his left foot from 20 yards narrowly off target.

McEneff broke the deadlock after just 13 minutes when Patching played Duffy into space on the left side of the penalty area. The winger's cross towards the back post was headed downward by McEneff and despite Moore getting a touch with his outstretched foot, the ball nestled into the bottom corner for his sixth of the season.

Ben Doherty found Duffy lurking on the edge of the box in space with a corner kick but the winger's volley bounced off the surface and into the hands of Moore.There was no let-up for the students and Moore needed to produce a top class save with his fingertips to deny Will Patching's goalbound strike from 25 yards on 22 minutes.

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Moore turned Duffy's low strike from distance behind for a corner on 33 minutes and when the set-piece was swung in from the left, a UCD defender got a touch but when it fell to McEneff at the back post his first time effort struck the upright and went behind for a goalkick.

The former Arsenal youth should've done better when he was played in behind the UCD defence three minutes before the break but he flashed his effort wide of the far post.

Five minutes into the second half Derry doubled their lead after a clever flick from Patching which sent Duffy in on goal and the winger buried his shot past Moore at the near post from an acute angle.

McGonigle's first time strike from 10 yards was denied by Moore on 58 minutes when substitute Ciaran Coll found him with a low cross from the left flank.Derry were running riot and Duffy added a third on 65 minutes as he deftly lifted the ball over the head of Moore after he was sent scampering through by a ball over the top from Brandon Kavanagh.

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UCD reduced the deficit with 15 minutes to go from an inswinging corner which was allowed to bounce in the box and Wells fired it into the net from close range to end Derry's run of three consecutive clean sheets.

Brian Maher needed to produce a double save to deny UCD sub, Matthew Alonge and then Colin Bolton's follow-up strike on the volley.

Derry substitute Matt Ward netted a fourth for the Candystripes with six minutes remaining as he steered the ball home at the back post after Moore denied Ryan Graydon with a terrific save.

Ward had another chance late on to add to the scoreline but he screwed his shot at the near post and Moore gathered cleanly.

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It mattered little, however, as it was a comfortable night for Higgins’ charges who took full advantage of Rovers’ slip-up in Tallaght against Drogheda.

Derry have shown tremendous character to bounce back from that dismal defeat to Rovers at the start of the month with four straight league wins including difficult fixtures away to Drogheda and Bohemians and that excellent home win over Dundalk last Monday night.

Derry City: Maher: Boyce, Coll, McJannet, Doherty (McEleney h-t); B. Kavanagh (Diallo 66), Dummigan (Graydon 66), Patching (O'Reilly 81), Duffy (Ward 74); McEneff; McGonigle (Patton 74); Subs Not Used - Ryan, O'Neill, C. Kavanagh.

UCD: Moore: Gallagher (O'Connor 76), Wells, Keaney, Behan, Nolan (Alonge 76), Dempsey (Higgins 28), Clarke (Bolton 36), Norris, O'Regan (Bowden 76), Doyle; Subs Not Used - Healy, Keane, O'Brien, Donoghue.

Referee - Eoghan O'Shea.