Derry City 2
Galway United 1
A third successive defeat in the league for Galway United leaves Shane Keegan’s side bottom of the pile as the league enters its mini mid-season break.
While many fans have lauded the side for aspects of their play this season; and Keegan often says after games that apart from the concession of goals, he was happy with his side’s performance, the reality is United are heading for relegation unless they turn things around in a big way when the season resumes next week with a trip to the Showgrounds.
Friday night’s game was a snapshot of the season as a whole: they conceded first for the 15th time in 17 games; fell further behind with the concession of a second; they got themselves back into the game with a goal of their own; were denied an equaliser when hitting the woodwork; but they were only spared a heavier defeat as Derry also hit the post, while also had a shot taken off the line.
The stark facts are that United have won just twice in the league this season; they have kept just one clean sheet in 17 games; and Friday’s failure was yet another catalogue of woe on the road for United, who have not won away from home in more than a year, May 2016 to be exact.
They were the first side to have the ball in the net on Friday night, only to have Gary Shanahan’s strike ruled out for offside: within five minutes, Derry had scored twice, and it was enough to extend the Candystripes’ unbeaten run to 10 games.
United thought they had got off to the perfect start in the fourth minute from a set-piece. Kevin Devaney floated in a free-kick from the left, which was only half-cleared by the City defence as far as Shanahan.
He hit it first-time, a clean strike that flew goalwards before taking a wicked deflection off Marc Ludden to whizz past Ger Doherty. Shanahan peeled away to celebrate, but Ludden was in an offside position when the ball hit him, and the assistant official correctly raised his flag.
Within 60 seconds, the home side had hit the front from a set-piece of their own. Josh Daniels went down under the minimal of contact from Ludden 20 yards out as he raced onto a through-ball from Ronan Curtis, and Curtis side-footed the ball over the wall and inside the post, with Conor Winn left rooted to the spot.
The goal rocked United, and they fell further behind in the 9th minute with a goal that United’s defence should have prevented. Jarvis played a nothing-ball out of defence towards Barry McNamee, but he somehow managed to roll Stephen Folan and clip a ball into the box.
Lee Grace was back on his heels, allowing Nathan Boyle to nip in front of him and send a glancing header across Winn and inside the far post for a two-goal cushion.
For more, read this week’s Galway City Tribune.