Derry City close the gap on third with comfortable win over Sligo
Derry City3 Sligo Rovers 0
A PRE-MATCH Floodlight failure failed to darken the mood at Brandywell as Derry City produced a superb performance to see off Sligo Rovers.
Junior Ogedi-Uzokwe, who passed a late fitness test, proved the star of the show and he got Derry off the mark with a brilliant solo effort on 21 minutes.
He then turned provider as he set up Jamie McDonagh for Derry's second at the start of the second half.
And teenage prospect Jack Malone then sealed the win on 79 minutes with a stunning strike - his first senior goal!
The win moves the Candy Stripes to within two points of third placed Bohemians with a game in hand as they stretched their unbeaten run to seven matches.
Devine handed a full debut to ex-UCD striker, Conor Davis but City were without the suspended Eoin Toal and skipper, Barry McNamee who is currently on a pre-arranged holiday.
The match came so close to being called off due to an issue with the stadium's floodlights.
In fact the fixture was in doubt right up until 8.12p.m before the issue was resolved with referee, Damien MacGraith eventually getting proceedings underway a full 45 minutes after the scheduled kick-off time.
There was then a minute's applause for Derry City legend, Matt Doherty who was part of the club's famous 1964 Irish Cup winning side, the former inside right scoring the second goal in that decider against Glentoran at Windsor Park.
When the game eventually got underway, the delay certainly didn't have a negative effect on the home side who began with urgency.
In fact Derry really should've opened the scoring just three minutes in when Junior crossed superbly into the six yard box where David Parkhouse somehow directed his side-footed effort off target.
It was a real let-off for the visitors and they had goalkeeper, Edward McGinty to thank for instinctively parrying clear Parkhouse's point blank header from a superb Jamie McDonagh cross on 13 minutes.
Sligo were struggling to get out half but on 18 minutes they cut open the City defence when a brilliant pass from Ronan Murray sent Romeo Parkes clear but his low shot was saved superbly by Peter Cherrie.
Derry broke the deadlock on 21 minutes as Parkhouse found Junior who weaved his way past three Sligo defenders inside the penalty area before tucking the ball into the net off the foot of the post for his ninth goal of the season.
It was a deserved lead for City but Sligo came close to an equaliser when Danny Kane crossed dangerously towards the back post and Parkes' attempt on the half volley bounced past the wrong side of the far post on 24 minutes.
Gerardo Bruna whipped in a free-kick from wide on the right side and McGinty had to react quickly as he punched clear.
Parkes was proving a handful for the Derry defence and the striker came close with an effort from the edge of the box which deflected narrowly behind for a corner.
Cherrie needed to punch clear John Mahon's flicked effort from the front post following Sam Warde's corner kick just after the half hour mark as Rovers improved.
The next goal was always going to be crucial and it was the Candy Stripes who scored it just 60 seconds after into the second half.
Junior showed brilliant skill to get past his marker before cutting the ball back to McDonagh on the right side of the six yard box and the winger lashed his effort past McGinty and into the net - his second goal of the season!
That killed off the challenge of Sligo and then substitute, highly rated 19 year-old prospect, Malone played a one-two with Sloggett before firing his 20 yard strike low into the net for his first senior goal.
Following a swift Sligo counter Parkes cut the ball back to Ronan Coughlan who somehow sent his shot over the crossbar from four yards.
With eight minutes to go there was time for Michael McCrudden to come off the bench as he made his first return since sustaining a broken foot back in March.
Substitute, Kris Twardek then fired over the bar late on as Sligo failed to register a a single shot on target during the entirety of the second half.
McCrudden then struck the foot of the Sligo post in second half stoppage time following a neat Derry move with what was the final chance of the match.
It was a much needed win for the Candy Stripes and their first in four attempts to keep alive their European prospects.
Derry City: P. Cherrie; J. McDonagh, D. Cole, A. Gilchrist, C. Coll; C. Harkin, G. Bruna, G. Sloggett (M. McCrudden 81), J. Ogedi-Uzokwe (D. McCauley 74); C. Davis (J. Malone 62); D. Parkhouse; Subs Not Used - N. Gartside, M. McChrystal, E. Stokes, J. Parke.
Sligo Rovers: E. McGinty; J. Mahon, J. Dunleavy, K. Callan-McFadden, D. Kane; R. Murray (R. Donelon 73), D. Fordyce, S. Warde (K. Twardek 58), L. Banks; R. Coughlan, R. Parkes; Subs Not Used - L. Nicholas, B. Morley, L. Kerrigan, R. Smith, S. Lynch.
Referee - Damien MacGraith.