Ronan Boyce claims Derry City 'will never give up' as his late goal extends unbeaten run to eight
RONAN BOYCE has warned Derry City will 'never give up' or accept defeat as the Brandywell club once again displayed their grit to earn a late equaliser against Sligo Rovers at Brandywell.
It was the fifth time this season Derry have fought back to rescue a point on Foyleside having previously done so against Drogheda (1-1), Dundalk (1-1), Longford (1-1) and Bohemians (1-1).
And the knack of finding late goals is not a bad habit to develop, a characteristic Ruaidhri Higgins has been delighted with of late.
Boyce has been directly responsible for five of Derry's 22 points tally alone after his winning goal against Waterford at the RSC in May and his two equalising headers against Drogheda and now Sligo Rovers.
The 20 year-old defender also scored in the 2-2 draw with St Pat's recently and with four to his name, he's determined to out-score his defensive teammate Cameron McJannet who has also netted four times already this term.
"We were having a bit of banter in the changing room and I told him 'I caught ye now'," laughed Boyce. "So I'll have to overtake him now, that's the next target."
His 86th minute strike took a wicked deflection off Shane Blaney's leg and crept past Ed McGinty at his near post and while it was admittedly somewhat fortuitous, Boyce felt Derry were fully deserving of it.
"We'll never give up no matter what because we know we're representing a lot of people in the city so we have to keep fighting for them and for our own families and our own personal pride. We don't like getting beat and we want to keep this run going and keep pushing. We don't accept losing at all. Not at all.
"I thought we were dominant in the game and I felt we deserved three points but we'll take a point considering we were 1-0 down to a sloppy goal.
"It was a soft goal we conceded. It was just a big clearance down the pitch, they flicked it on and he (Gibson) was in. But we'll have another look at that and try to rectify it so it doesn't happen again. First half we were very good but then the game opened up a bit in the second half."
With Derry chasing a 1-0 deficit from the 55th minute when Jordan Gibson ran onto a long punt upfield before clinically finishing past Nathan Gartside, Boyce had only one thing on his mind when he found himself in space on the edge of the Sligo penalty area.
"I kind of knew when I came up to the ball I was going to get it so I just thought I'll get a good first touch and then I'm shooting all day. I tried to go across the keeper and luckily enough it deflected in. I'll take that all day long. I'm just trying to chip in as much as I can.
"It was kind of a similar game to Longford here when (James) Akintunde scored in the last minute. We keep going and hopefully that first win at home comes sooner rather than later."
While the search for that elusive first home win of the season continues, the point extended Derry's impressive unbeaten run to eight games as they continue to build momentum and maintain sixth spot ahead of a tricky trip to Oriel Park this Friday night.
Boyce expects a tough test given Vinny Perth's return as Dundalk boss which has brought an upturn in results, but Derry go into the game with 'no fear'.
"We will go again, away to Dundalk on Friday. Vinny Perth has come in now and Dundalk will be up and at it. They won tonight so it will be a tough game. Hopefully we can bring it to them because our away form has been very good and we'll go there with no fear.
"It's a tight league and you have to fight for everything you get so we'll just see how it goes and hopefully we get the three points. If we can just turn these draws into wins we would be in a very good place."
The youngster is thoroughly enjoying his extended run in the team this season and he's determined not to give Higgins any excuse to drop him.
"I'm enjoying it so much. I just love playing football. I'm happy I've come in and taken my chance. I just have to keep it going, keep playing well and staying in the team and give the manager no excuse to put me out of the team."