Sunday 17 December 2017

Fenlon sees red as high-flying Derry ride luck


Ruaidhri O'Connor

Ruaidhri O'Connor

DERRY City's return to the Premier Division is getting more impressive by the week, but the sense of injustice was palpable among the locals leaving Phibsboro last night.

For 44 minutes, Bohemians controlled this clash between the league's third and fourth-placed teams and were unlucky not to be in front.

But the intervention of linesman Rafal Pieper turned the game on its head.

It was on the official's advice that referee Padraig Sutton harshly dismissed Keith Buckley for a tackle on Daniel Lafferty. Within four minutes, his manager, Pat Fenlon, had joined him in the stands and the Candystripes were one up and en route to victory.

The win means that Derry end the first round of fixtures in second, unbeaten since their opening-day defeat to Sligo Rovers.

Derry rode their luck early on, but once they went a man up they showed plenty of composure and both Lafferty and James McClean took their goals well. And although Killian Brennan botched a late penalty, Bohs never looked likely to win with just 10 men.

It all looked so different in the first half as, led by striker Anto Flood, the Gypsies exerted plenty of pressure and should have been in front before the linesman's intervention after testing Derry goalkeeper Ger Doherty a number of times.

The beanpole Dubliner pulled Liam Burns' long ball out of the sky brilliantly, and his scuffed shot was covered by the custodian, before he beat Doherty to Buckley's ball but his lob went too high.

After Doherty had saved from Owen Heary, Flood then latched on to a Buckley ball to whip in a dangerous ball for Stephen Traynor, but despite getting across Shane McEleney, he couldn't get his header on target.

But after all of their dominance, Bohs found themselves behind at half- time after two debatable refereeing decisions changed the game.

First, Buckley threw himself into two tackles -- the second of which he started on the ground and caught Lafferty. On the advice of his assistant, Sutton reached for a straight red card.

Cue mayhem as both sides had their say in a centre-circle skirmish, and Liam Burns was shown a yellow card.

Play restarted and, fired up, Heary, Robert Bayly and Brennan harassed the retreating McClean. As the winger back-tracked, Sutton blew his whistle for no apparent reason and the Bohs faithful were further incensed.

From the free, Kevin Deery's perfect delivery was met by Lafferty and he beat Chris O'Connor with a diving header. Fenlon was sent to the stands for his protests.

And things didn't get any better for the hosts when Derry doubled their lead within three minutes of the resumption. It was a peach of a goal, as McGlynn sent the ball in to Eamonn Zayed and his chest fell perfectly for McClean, who finished brilliantly.

Bohs had a brief good spell after that, but the visitors were comfortable with their extra man and were able to keep the ball well and Bayly had to clear Stewart Greacan's header off the line.

The Gypsies knew it wasn't going to be their night when Brennan earned a penalty late on, but dinked the spot-kick off the bar. Flood's follow up header also hit the woodwork and Derry closed the game out comfortably.

BOHEMIANS -- O'Connor; Heary, Burns, Price (Feely 87), O'Brien; Buckley, Bayly, Brennan, Cahill (Dixon 74); Traynor, Flood.

DERRY CITY -- Doherty; McCallion, Greacan, S McEleleney, Lafferty; Higgins, Deery; P McEleney (McDaid 88), McGlynn, McClean (McLoughlin 90); Zayed.

REF -- P Sutton (Clare)

Irish Independent

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