Report: Derry City 2-1 Rovers

Sligo Rovers fell to a narrow defeat following Will Patching’s 95th minute penalty at The Brandywell gave the hosts all three points after a fast-paced evenly contested game.

Rovers came into the game without the suspended Kailin Barlow, who was replaced by Stefan Radosavljevic in the starting eleven, as well as a number of players who remain out through injury.

Under 17 defender Conor Reynolds made his first appearance on the bench and Conor Walsh returned following injury for the first time this season.

The home side gave a start to new signing Paul McMullan after his recent arrival from Scotland.

The game started with both sides looking to get a foot-hold in the match, the first half chance came when Stefan Radosavljevic shot over from a free-kick around 25 yards out from the Derry goal and the Faroese went close again soon after as he was put in down the left hand side before cutting in on his right foot and shooting just over.

Derry had some half chances of their own with Ben Doherty and Michael Duffy working well down the left hand side, Doherty’s half volley went wide of Luke McNicholas’ goal before two further opportunities for both sides as Nando Pijnaker headed wide from Johan Brannefalk’s free-kick and Jame McGonigle did the same from McMullan’s cross for the hosts.

McGonigle didn’t have to wait long however as he gave The Candystripes the lead on 30 minutes.

The striker was played through by Brandon Kavanagh and he kept his cool and rolled the ball under McNicholas and into the net.

Rovers reacted well to this set back and were level ten minutes later.

Former Derry player Daniel Lafferty was brilliantly set up by Niall Morahan, turning two players in midfield before playing the ball wide to the on rushing Lafferty, carrying the ball into the box and firing past Brian Maher.

It was level at the break, but just before that Kavanagh’s curling free-kick from the edge of the area was well saved by McNicholas in one of the last plays of the opening period.

Rovers started the second half pretty well. Frank Liivak got to the byline and his cross was met by Lafferty but he couldn’t keep his effort down and moments later from a corner, Rovers had half a chance as Pijnaker’s headed fell to the feet of Max Mata but he and Lafferty got in eachother’s way and the chance was gone.

Derry brought on Will Patching, Patrick McEleney and new signing Danny Mullen in an attempt to find a winner and McEleney and Patching in particular ensured they found more possession in midfield and carried more of a threat in the final 25 minutes.

David Cawley and Lukas Browning came on for Greg Bolger and Lafferty who picked up a knock.

Patching tried his luck on two seperate occasions but both efforts fizzed wide and over the bar as Rovers defended well.

The hosts were awarded a penalty on 82 minutes. A short corner was played to Doherty who’s shot hit the hand of John Mahon, with referee Neil Doyle pointing to the spot and booking Mahon.

Doherty took the penalty himself but McNicholas made a great save to deny him both from the initial spot kick and the rebound, which he headed back at goal.

The final ten minutes were pretty evenly matched with Rovers and McNicholas equal to anything Derry threw at them but the game was decided in the 95th minute when Doyle pointed to the spot for a second time.

Cian Kavanagh, another second half substitute picked up possession on the right hand side and got past Pijnaker and into the area. Doyle adjudged Pijnaker to have fouled the Derry striker and awarded the penalty which was dispatched by Patching with one of the last kicks of the game.

Next up for Rovers is a home friendly with Celtic B at 7pm this Tuesday evening following by a League game with Cork City at The Showgrounds on Saturday at 7.45pm.