Derry short of self-belief as Dundalk run out easy winners
City always second best to progressive title chasers
Brian Gartland celebrates after scoring the home side’s opener. Photograph: Inpho
Dundalk 3 Derry City 0
Stephen Kenny had suggested on Friday night that his team would be especially vulnerable here after their big win at Richmond Park but in a one-sided game Derry rarely looked as though they’d come believing they could catch out opponents for whom these latest three points mean a share of top spot.
They’d slipped up against Bohemians last time out at home and Monday’s visitors spent a long time looking as if they’d have been happy with holding them to another draw but it seemed a long shot after Brian Gartland got the home side’s first and a pipe dream not long after that. In the end Richie Towell and David McMillan completed the scoring.
City were always second best although neither side shone in a first half overshadowed by an injury to Ryan McBride that stopped play for 13 minutes.
McBride was taken to hospital – but he was reported to be speaking with the ambulance crew during the journey – and play resumed with Derry almost scoring courtesy of a Barry Molloy shot that skipped just wide as the locals seemed to just look on but it was a very rare chance for the visitors. From then on, the hosts generally had the better of things even if they appeared, once again, to be slightly put out by having to play on their own plastic pitch.
Certainly, you’d have to suspect that Dane Massey would have scored at the far post after Chris Shields had cleverly flicked on a Kurtis Byrne corner had he not got quite so badly under his close-range shot midway through the first period and Richie Towell might well have gone close too early in the second had Stephen O’Donnell’s pass, after a powering forward run, not left him for dead after skimming off the surface.
The opening goal, in any case, was coming and it arrived just over an hour in when Byrne floated over another corner from the right and Brian Gartland dispensed with the fancy stuff and just headed it straight home.
It took 11 minutes for Dundalk to double their lead although more controversy accompanied the goal with the City bench protesting that Kurtis Byrne’s foot had been high as he won the ball on the edge of his own area after a City free had been partially cleared. He might have but Dundalk still capitalised well, breaking at speed with four against two and Byrne releasing Towell perfectly for the finish.
Doherty did well to prevent Towell getting a second but, as tired as his team-mates looked at the end perhaps, he allowed McMillan’s late strike to go through him at the near post.