Derry City lose grip on cup after early Cretaro goal sends Sligo Rovers through
Second-half surge not enough to save visitors
Sligo goalscorer Raffaele Cretaro and Tony McNamee of Derry City at the Showgrounds. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho
Sligo Rovers 1 Derry City 0: Derry City’s frustrating season took another turn for the worse yesterday after Raffaele Cretaro 15th-minute goal sent Sligo into the hat for the FAI Ford Cup semi-final draw at a wind- lashed Showgrounds.
The cup holders staged a brave late rally in an effort to hold on to the prized silverware but their best efforts fell short of forcing a replay at the Brandywell, which the Candystripes’ second-half performance deserved.
The visitors had claims for a penalty turned down as the game entered stoppage time after Rory Patterson raced in on goal following a superb interception by substitute Michael Duffy at the other end.
Sligo were on top during the opening 45 minutes as the visitors offered little to trouble their hosts up front.
But Declan Devine’s side came out for the second half with a lot more spirit and determination, with the introduction of substitutes Michael Duffy, Ryan Curran and Michael Rafter adding more flair up front.
The teams walked on to the pitch before the start of the game holding white T- shirts as a mark of solidarity with Drogheda Utd player Gary O’ Neill, who has been diagnosed with cancer.
Derry City came under pressure in the opening three minutes as the home side put some passes together but the Candystripes’ backline dealt with that early threat.
Rory Patterson took the ball off the toe of a Sligo defender after five minutes but the Derry striker was unable to make the move count.
The visitors had half-a- chance after 13 minutes but Ryan McBride’s effort from six yards came to nothing.
Sligo went ahead two minutes later when a Joseph Ndo free-kick fell nicely for Cretaro, who rattled Gerard Doherty’s net.
Solid Derry defending by Patrick Kavanagh on the half-hour mark kept the score to the minimum as Séamus Conneely bore down on goal.
Simon Madden’s swirling effort from a clever crossfield ball by Barry Molloy had Sligo goalkeeper Gary Rogers struggling in the 37th minute.
The hard-working Patrick Kavanagh, who injured himself as he attempted to keep Danny North at bay, was forced to leave the action on 39 minutes.
North went close to doubling the Reds’ advantage as the half entered stoppage time but the ball was scrambled away at the last second.
Cretaro had a chance to notch his side’s second after a minute of the second half but his effort flew just narrowly wide of Doherty’s goal.
Barry McNamee had a great opportunity to square the match in the 49th minute but he was unable to get a clean shot at goal from a couple of yards. A quick break by Sligo in the 57th minute set Aaron Greene up for a shot but he ballooned the ball over the bar.
SLIGO ROVERS: Rogers; Keane, Henderson, Peers, Davoren, Cawley, Ndo, Conneely (Ventre, 66), Greene, Cretaro (Millien, 74), North (Elding, 81).
DERRY CITY: Doherty; , Molloy, McEleney, Higgins, Patterson, McBride, Kavanagh (Duffy, 39), Madden, Osborne (Curran, 76), McDaid (Rafter, 73) McNamee.
Referee: N Doyle (Dublin).