Coyle's gem sees off UCD

 

A moment of genius from veteran striker Liam Coyle enabled Derry City to climb to second place in the premier division table and now only a point behind leaders Shelbourne.

Coyle's magnificent strike on the hour was enough to see off the feeble challenge of UCD at Belfield Park yesterday.

That was College's third defeat in-a-row and one which angered manager Martin Moran.

That was "a quite dreadful performance. It's our first run since I took over as manager," admitted Moran.

"We never looked like scoring. The confidence has gone right out of the team. There was a total lack of zest."

Derry can now look forward to a top of the table clash with Shelbourne at the Brandywell next Sunday, again eagerly looked forward to by manager Kevin Mahon.

"Against UCD, it looked odds on a draw until Liam Coyle scored that vital goal. UCD never looked like getting back in the game after we got our noses in front."

Derry looked the strongest outfit right from the start when Stephen Parkhouse, totally unmarked, had a glancing header wide of the upright after a cross from Damon McCallion.

Coyle then showed his class when carving open the home defence to set up an opening for fellow striker Gary Beckett. But keeper Barry Ryan did well to block the shot with his legs.

The students rarely threatened, although David Quinn did have one effort pushed round the post by keeper John Connolly. They then wasted a glorious opportunity of breaking the deadlock, following a mix-up between Hutton and keeper Connolly, but striker Michael O'Byrne delayed and the chance was missed.

Keeper Ryan again came to UCD's rescue when he blocked a McCallion effort after a neat interchange of passes with Beckett.

Coyle's crucial goal came after a long throw-in by Sean Hargan on the left. The ball was touched back by Parkhouse for Coyle to rifle in an angled shot from 10 yards that gave Ryan no chance.

In a desperate bid to snatch an equaliser, College switched central defender Clive Delaney to a striker's role with substitute Tony McDonnell taking over from O'Byrne on 67 minutes. But the only moments of danger to the Derry defence came in the dying seconds when first McDonnell scuffed a shot wide and then had a header grabbed at the second attempt by Connolly.

UCD: Ryan; Mahon, Delaney, McAuley, McLaughlin, Quinn, Kavanagh, Grogan, Martyn; O'Byrne, Bennis. Subs: Lynch for Quinn (45 mins); McDonnell for O'Byrne (67 mins); Martin for Martyn (87 mins).

Derry City: Connolly; McCallion, Kelly, Hutton, Hargan; Beckett, McLaughlin, Doherty, McIvor; Parkhouse, Coyle. Subs: McCreadie for McIvor (55 mins); McCaul for Parkhouse (77 mins); Devlin for Coyle (69 mins). Referee: R O'Hanlon (Waterford).