Doherty heroics keep determined Derry's hopes alive
Trabzonspor 4 Derry City 2
DERRY CITY put up a brave fight, but Trabzonspor will travel to the Brandywell next week confident of progressing in the Europa League.
Despite conceding two first-half goals, the Turkish giants ran out comfortable victors and, but for some superb saves from Gerard Doherty, the Candystripes would have lost by a bigger margin.
However, those two away goals give Derry some hope and sparked some wild celebrations among the small but vocal band of travelling supporters.
Striker Rory Patterson missed out because of a back problem, which meant that David McDaid was given his first start since his return from York City.
The home side broke the deadlock on 10 minutes after Barry McNamee was caught out by Volkan Sen down the right. Sen's cut-back found Olcan Adin and, though his effort was superbly kept out by Doherty, the alert Adrian Mierzejewski was on hand to score with a spectacular overhead kick from close range.
That goal was quickly followed by a second minutes later. Adin's strike from 25 yards was spilled by Doherty and Paulo Henrique calmly side-footed the ball home from 12 yards.
Completely against the run of play, City hit back on 25 minutes. McDaid picked up possession 35 yards from goal and ran at the Trabzonspor defence, nutmegging Remzi Giray Kacar before unleashing an unstoppable drive past Onur Recep Kivrak.
Doherty made up for his earlier mistake a minute later when Sen broke the offside trap, the out-rushing City 'keeper getting a crucial touch to the midfielder's attempted lob, giving Eoghan Osbourne the chance to get back and head the ball behind.
Amazingly, the visitors drew level on 32 minutes. Barry Molloy's pass released Patrick Kavanagh clear down the left and he cut inside before drilling a low shot, which took a slight deflection which caught out Kivrak.
The home side deservedly regained the lead on 40 minutes when Adin's right wing in-swinging free-kick right into the six yard box was headed into his own net by the unfortunate Molloy.
Trabzonspor increased their lead early into the second half when Adin's sublime corner-kick delivery found a totally unmarked Kacar, who headed home from close range.
Doherty continued to be called into action as he made two super saves to deny Adin and Henrique, as both Ryan McBride and Michael Duffy came on replacing goalscorer Kavanagh and Patrick McEleney.
The home side continued to pile forward looking for a fifth goal, but City were also looking to attack and McDaid and McEleney both went close.
With 10 minutes remaining, Trabzonspor substitute Yasin Oztekin showed a super piece of skill with his first touch, flicking the ball on to Emre Gural and then racing on to the return pass only to see his 20-yard drive saved by Doherty.
Incredibly, the visitors almost grabbed a third in stoppage-time when substitute McBride saw his long-range shot skip inches wide.
Trabzonspor – Kivark, Sen (Oztekin 80), Mierzejewski (Da Costa 68); Henrique (Gural 75), Akgun, Colman, Yumlu, Kacar, Celustka, Yavru, Adin.
Derry City – Doherty, Madden, S McEleney, Greacen, Osbourne, P McEleney (Duffy 72), Molloy, Higgins, McNamee, Kavanagh (McBride 63); McDaid (Griffin 86).
Ref – A Kuchin (Kazakhstan)