Derry City need McClean magic to salvage point in Longford
Patrick McClean’s 35-yard effort cancels David O’Sullivan’s first half strike
David O’Sullivan scored the opening goal for Longford Town Photograph: ©Inpho/Ryan Byrne
Substitute Patrick McClean scored a spectacular first goal for Derry City as they had to settle for salvaging a point at City Calling Stadium.
Behind to David O’Sullivan’s first half goal, McClean, brother of West Brom and Republic of Ireland winger James, struck on 73 minutes to see his 35-yard left-foot shot fly to the top right-hand corner of Longford keeper Paul Skinner’s net.
The tenaciously earned point lifts Longford two places off the foot of the table as Derry slip two points behind leaders Dundalk.
A league debut for 17-year-old Tristan Noack-Hofmann at left-back was one of four changes for bottom side Longford who enjoyed a good deal of early possession.
And though Derry midfielder Barry McNamee curled a free kick over the top 10 minutes in, it was the visitors’ Ger Doherty who was the first keeper to see action seven minutes later as he had to show his agility to tip over Longford skipper Kevin O’Connor’s shot after a ricochet off McNamee.
Skinner kept Derry out at the other end with a finger-tip save of his own to turn Rory Patterson’s cross-shot out for a corner after a surging run by right-back Niclas Vemmelund.
Longford then snatched the lead from their second corner of the game on 26 minutes; O’Sullivan powering his header to the net from O’Connor’s delivery.
Dominant until the break thereafter, Derry should have equalised nine minutes later, but Skinner comfortably saved with his knees from Patterson’s weak penalty after he’d been fouled inside the area by John McKeown.
The frame of the goal then rescued Longford five minutes before the break. Dean Jarvis worked a one-two with McClean on the left to crash his shot off the under side of Skinner’s crossbar.
Derry owned the ball for much of the second half, but struggled initially to create chances as Longford defended tiggerishly.
But Longford’s resolve was broken on 73 minutes by McClean before Skinner then batted away a Keith Ward free kick five minutes later as Derry chased a winner.
Longford had a good shout for a penalty waved away by Wexford referee Sean Grant a minute after that when the tireless O’Sullivan appeared to be pushed over by Derry skipper Ryan McBride.
Longford Town: Skinner; Haverty, Flynn, Rossiter, Noack-Hofmann; McKeown; Cowan (Duffy, 68), Hughes, O’Connor (Gannon, 72), McGlynn (O’Hanlon, 84); O’Sullivan.
Derry City: Doherty; Vemmelund, McBride, Barry (McClean 38), Jarvis; Ward (Boyle, 83), McEneff, Monaghan (McCormack, 52); Curtis; McNamee; Patterson;
Referee: Sean Grant (Wexford).